Submission & Ephesians 5:22 comments post #3

June 15, 2010 — 267 Comments

Ephesians 5:22 on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

Our discussions on Ephesians 5:22 has sparked a flurry of comments with literally hundreds of comments later and seemingly no end to the “iron sharpening iron” discussion between egalitarians as well as complementarians.  This is the place where the discussion will continue as my blog has a habit of blanking out all of the comments if I let too many accumulate under one post.  So continue discussion with this post and thanks all for your lively and irenic comments on a very hotly debated topic of authority and submission in marriage.

For those who haven’t been following all along, here are links to the previous parts of the discussion on Ephesians 5:22.

Part #2 http://mmoutreach.org/wim/2010/06/01/authority-vs-submission-ephesians-522-continuing-comments

Part #1 http://mmoutreach.org/wim/2010/05/23/authority-vs-submission-biblical-view/ Part 1 has problems because of the great amount of comments, but at least the original post can be read if the link doesn’t work.  Just scroll down to the bottom until you read the post of May 23, 2010 called Authority vs Submission a Biblical View.

Cheryl

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267 responses to Submission & Ephesians 5:22 comments post #3

  1. Now that I created a new and fresh post to continue the comment thread, I have run out of time once again to comment myself. Go ahead and continue your discussions and I have an easier day tomorrow and should be able to drop in during the day to comment. Finally! My schedule has been way too hectic of late. See y’all in a bit. 😉

  2. “i used him to support non biblical uses of head to mean authority. That is what i wanted you to deal with.”

    Typically, one starts with examples that predate the text in question. If there are no examples of kephale meaning authority which predate the NT, then we have to ask if we now for sure that this is what Paul meant.

    I am not surprised that this is what Chrysostom taught. It seems to me to be natural that all men want to be in authority over women. It is like children wanting candy, natural but not healthy.

  3. Mark: “What i said was not an attack at you at all. My point is simple- to reject servant leadership is to reject the model of Jesus himself. Jesus was both leader and servant!”

    Mark,
    How is that? I have not one shred of a problem with Jesus as Leader and Servant. And my point is that He is the Leader.
    Jesus is the Shepherd of His sheep. Notice His warning to those who would teach His Word, that He sent them out as sheep among wolves, not shepherds among wolves.
    “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matt 10:16)

    Christ warned that no one is to stand in place of Christ as the Shepherd of His people – all are His sheep.
    “Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Matt. 23:8-12

    “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:25
    Preachers and teachers of His Word – what are they? Sheep, with more experience, who are given to pass on their knowledge and understanding to new and younger sheep, just as it was passed on to them by the “sheep” before them, “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” And only about Christ does it say, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

    “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
    Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
    Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care on him; for He careth for you.” 1 Pet 5:1-7

    Nowhere, not once, does it say ‘male sheep’ or “rams” feed the sheep ‘under’ them.

  4. Sue,

    Then i hope your comments that no where outside of the NT is kephale used to mean authority, are subtracted. I’ve given you specific examples and you still wish to ignore them as evidence.

    Does your focus only narrow on pre-NT times?

    Again, i’m not pushing Chrysostom here or his theology. What he said is irrelevant for this argument, it’s his use of kephale, and it’s direct relation to authority that is my interest. They are clear examples that kephale IS used in non-biblical texts to denote authority. It’s the word ‘kephale’ that i’m focusing on.

  5. Kay,

    So why are we warned about not lording it over- this would seem irrelevant if authority was not an expectation for church leaders. We are warned because of the corrupting nature of authority, not to show it doesn’t exist.

  6. Mark: “So what you are saying is that Church leaders are not in authority-
    let’s see…
    Tit 2:15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
    Does Titus have authority here over the congregation? Paul says don’t let anyone disregard him. Maybe you should consider if you are disregarding your church leaders?”

    Kay: “The Greek word ‘epitage’ (translated as ‘authority’ there) is used to describe an injunction, mandate or command. This word does not relate to how we normally think of authority. In the KJV, epitage is normally translated as “commandment.”

    Mark,
    The English word ‘authority’ is not in that passage.

  7. Mark@5,

    I have to disagree. I believe the warning is there because we humans so easily slip into pride by seeing knowledge as power.
    Part of the problem lies in tying the word ‘leader’ to particular tasks. The world invests the leader with weight, with status, with power. It is a societal bias that values some roles over others. A race car driver is, in the eyes of the public, the most valued member of the team, in spite of the fact that the mechancics have just as much to do with success as the driver. Similarly, whoever we call “the leader” is considered the most important or the most powerful, creating an inevitable hierarchy.

  8. Mark,

    Christian “Leadership” cannot be defined as a trait residing in an individual because that doesn’t fit the biblical model. Being a an “ensample” “sheep” is a mandate/command not an inherent quality.

  9. Mark,
    Think about the O.T. and how the Israelites wanted a king so they could be like the other nations around them.

    “They said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons don’t follow your ways. So now appoint over us a king to lead us, just like all the nations have.” But this request displeased Samuel, for they said, “Give us a king to lead us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, “Do everything the people request of you. For it is not you that they have rejected, but it is me that they have rejected as their king. Just as they have done from the day that I brought them up from Egypt until this very day, they have rejected me and have served other gods. This is what they are also doing to you” 1 Sam. 8:4-8.

    “When you come to the land the Lord your God is giving you and take it over and live in it and then say, “ I will appoint a king over me like all the nations surrounding me”.

    These words of Moses were both a warning and a prophecy. Compare the words of Moses with the words of the people to Samuel in 1 Samuel 8:5:

    They said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons don’t follow your ways. So now appoint over us a king to lead us, just like all the nations have.”

    In both texts, it is the people who demand a ruler, just as in both their motivation is to be “just like the nations.”

  10. Yes, Kay.
    And it is our culture, not God, that demands someone be the leader in a marriage. It is our culture that looks at two people, not a group, just two people, and determines… one MUST be the leader and the other the follower, there can be no partnership.
    God creates partnerships, fellowships. The world creates hiearchies.

    It is a childish game ‘king of the hill’ forcing its way into marriage from our culture. It is man’s way, the way of tradition and the fallen sin-nature of the flesh. Not God’s way.

    No matter how many scriptures taken out of context and twisted and read into, you cannot support male rulership as “God’s best”.
    It exists because of sin, not because of God’s design.

  11. Mark,

    If I give evidence from Chrysostom that authentein in 1 Timothy 2:12 means “to be a tyrant” then that is considered by complementarians, like Grudem and Kostenberger, to be too late to rate as evidence. It is complementarian scholars like Grudem who have stated clearly that they will not accept such an example as this from Chrysostom as evidence for 1 Tim. 2:12. So I play by their rules as to what counts as evidence. (Fortunately there is no evidence from the era of the NT that authentein meant to have authority.)

    This is what I meant by “not a slam dunk.” There is evidence for kephale, but it is not clear, not established. There is no evidence at the time of the NT or preceding, that “authority” is one of the meanings of kephale. This is how it is usually assessed.

    I do understand how you could think that Chrysostom is evidence, and it is evidence of what Chrysostom thought. But it is not evidence of what the word meant for Paul.

    The truth is that there is little to no evidence for kephale and authentein, at the time of the NT, as used outside of the NT, that “authority over” was part of their meaning.

    It is not obvious. That is what I have meant. One can argue that it is so, and others argue that it is not. “Authority over” is not the clear and obvious only contender for the meaning of kephale and authentein. You have to persuade people that your understanding of the scriptures is better than any other interpretation. These are all things which depend on interpretation.

    How can you defend your interpretation, that kephale means authority? How can you argue that the subordination of women is a better interpretation of the scripture than treating women as your neighbour? If both are possible interpretations, why is the subordination of women a BETTER interpretation?

  12. “A woman can never ever compromise what is best for her family because her husband has some kind of authority over her on the basis of his gender. That is wrong. “

    This is an excellent point, Sue. This has happened frequently to women taught male authority. And we’ve seen that the results can be catastrophic for wife and children. One very public one was a woman who was taught and told that she had to keep having children even though she was having a medical problem that was affecting her phychologically. She ended up killing her children. In her mind she was helping them. Her husband knew she wasn’t doing well, but wouldn’t authorize her to stop having children.

  13. Mark #4

    Chrysostom was born 300 years later. By then the use of kephale could have morphed some. IF it is even true that Chrysostom used kephale in a sense of meaning authority, which no one has provided any examples of, it would be interesting. But it wouldn’t matter in determining the use of kephale at the time of the NT writings.

  14. Mark said:
    “Your whole argument is an argument from silence.”
    Yes, I argue that the New Testament is silent about men having authority over women based on their gender alone. It seems to me that silence is a very good argument here. If you want to add male authority to the mix, you are doing so in spite of the silence of the Bible on this issue.

    The difference between Kay and I on church authority is, I suspect, very minor– but it has no bearing on what you and I were discussing. I maintain that there are specific instructions from Paul and Peter to church leaders indicating that Paul and Peter considered these leaders to in fact be leaders, by God’s calling, to their flocks. There are absolutely no such instructions from Paul or Peter to husbands. The silence is somewhat deafening. ALl you’ve got are two words, “head” and “submit,” with no instructions tied to them about husbands leading wives– only instructions on husbands and wives mutually yielding to one another, and husbands loving, giving themselves, cherishing and nurturing their wives.

    As for Chrysostom and “kephale,” I agree that by the time he wrote, the meaning of the word may have evolved from NT times. However, I still find it interesting that he finds it necessary to say “head and ruler,” as if the word “head” by itself were still not quite enough to convey rulership.

  15. “However, I still find it interesting that he finds it necessary to say “head and ruler,” as if the word “head” by itself were still not quite enough to convey rulership.”

    Kristen,
    I find it not only interesting, but telling! Let’s take the word ‘orange’ for instance. Would Chrysostom have said, “orange and apple” if it really meant “orange and orange”?

  16. TL #13,

    You are very spot on when it comes to the morphing of words over time. Even relatively short periods of time. Consider for example, the following scenario of fiction from the U.S. Gilded Age (1st Gilded Age) in which some college age children of the meat packing barons of Chicago (circa 1897) are gathered in the parlor of the mansion of one of their fathers:

    Edgar has recently learned to play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata flawlessly and is confident that it will impress Katharine, the object of his amorous hopes. Poor Edgar! Just as he gets to the some of the most sublime bars ever written for the keyboard, Katharine rolls her eyes and exclaims: “Oh Edgar! not that awful old dirge again, can’t you play something gay? Something by that Negro fellow Joplin?”

    Something gay? People simply do not use those kinds of expressions anymore because they no longer mean what they did over a century ago. My point is simply this, if a fairly innocuous word such as gay could have such drastic changes in meaning in little over a century, how much could the word kephale have mutated from the Axial Age (time of the Septuagint) to the time of Chrysostom?

  17. I believe that the head – body metaphor should be interpreted to mean that God shares his nature with Christ, man with woman, and Christ with man. This is Paul’s cosmology. We share a common nature.

    The very first thing that a man should offer a woman is to treat her as “of the same flesh,” (1 Cor. 15) as equally human in every way.

  18. “Or perhaps you don’t know that the man who joins his body to a prostitute becomes physically one with her? The scripture says quite plainly, “The two will become one body.” But he who joins himself to the Lord becomes spiritually one with him.” 1 Cor. 6:16-17
    “”For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Eph.5:31-32

    When I compare these verses, I see the mystery is becoming physically and spiritually one-flesh. As in the head/body analogy – as Christ is the head of His Body.
    It’s not a Bridegroom/Christ to Bride/Church metaphor.

  19. oops! continuing..
    …but a similar analogy.

  20. “Mark: “What i said was not an attack at you at all. My point is simple- to reject servant leadership is to reject the model of Jesus himself. Jesus was both leader and servant!”

    Mark, it won’t map because you are not God in the flesh. You, too, are a sheep, a servant and lowly…like the rest of us if you are saved.

  21. “So why are we warned about not lording it over- this would seem irrelevant if authority was not an expectation for church leaders. We are warned because of the corrupting nature of authority, not to show it doesn’t exist.”

    Mark, This is a good one. I have heard it before. and it still sounds quite silly coming from a Believers perspective whether in marriage or in the Body of Christ. Jesus Christ is the authority in both places.

    But others here point out the obvious flaws in your view. Oh, authority exists alright and it is a huge sin problem for the person who wants it and thinks it is his divine right to stand in place of the Holy Spirit and the authority of Jesus Christ. Civil authority exists to deal with human evil. Some of those evil folks are married men, too. Some even claim to follow Christ :o)

    Would you agree it would be wrong for a woman to submit to evil? If so, then tell us what human in her life gets to decide what is evil and she should not submit to it?

  22. There is no place where a husband is told not to lord it over his wife in the exercise of leadership. This is because he is never told to exercise leadership over her at all.

  23. Chrysostom, on the other hand, did tell a husband not to be a tyrant, that is not to authenteo.

  24. “Chrysostom, on the other hand, did tell a husband not to be a tyrant, that is not to authenteo.”

    OOOOO good find. However, that IS still 300 years later than it’s usage in the NT. But the thing about that is that earlier, before the NT, it is my recollection that the word had even darker meanings. So, between however many years before Paul wrote it to Chrysostom we have the word authenteo changing into something less than what it used to be up to the meaning of tyrant.

  25. I’m rather shocked everyone…you simply follow Sue’s suggestion that Chrysostom is irrelevant.

    Let’s be honest about this. Claims were made that outside the NT, kephale never means authority. I have shown this easily false, so now the argument slims down to a closer period around the NT. I’m happy with that but let’s re-examine the information then.

    Sue- please inform all readers when your ‘proof’ for ‘source’ was written? Please put it in perspective for everyone. I know when it was written but maybe others do not. That way we can all see how accurate your research is, and how relevant it is to the NT. Since you reject Chrysostom, please explain how Cyril is relevant.

    However, i do agree that Chrysostom is not proof that kephale meant authority in the NT- but that was not my primary interest. My interest was to show Sue’s challenge false. Please give a relevant time field therefore to see what kephale means. Is 100BC-200AD relevant or is that too broad?

    Last point- Sue why therefore do you think that Liddell Scott is a good lexicon. It goes against the whole argument you just brought up. You think Chrysostom is irrelavent proof, yet you put most reliance on a lexicon that covers a 1500year period of Greek? This sort of reasoning gets out of control and completely inconsistent- am i the only one that sees this?

  26. It is so important for you all to realise that the best proof Sue can offer for a ‘source’ meaning is first of all ambiguous, and could legitimately translate authority. Second, now that you all wish to narrow the focus, you have shot yourselves in the foot, since your only proof falls outside of the time frame you demand.

  27. Mark,

    Let me be clear. I don’t think that I have proof for “source.” I just mentioned Cyril after you mentioned Chrysostom. I am simply showing how diverse and inexact the evidence is. Of course, it is later than Chrysostom, who is later than the Shepherd of Hermas, who is later than the NT, and so on. But where is the evidence that kephale means “authority” preceding the NT?

    I honestly don’t have the answer, but I don’t think you have the answer either. What if neither of us have the answer? What if this is one of those things like baptism, or speaking in tongues, where there are different interpretations? How should we then live? Should we not honour the law of Christ?

  28. It is so important for you all to realise that the best proof Sue can offer for a ’source’ meaning

    Mark,
    The best proof is in the scriptures themselves – the passages under question. In 1 Co 11 the context is about “origin” and in Eph 5 the context is also “origin” (where Paul quotes Gen 2 which is the reason why a man leaves his father and mother being that the woman was taken out of man). Looks like “source of life” is pretty close and that was the last way that Paul used the term in Eph 4. All you have for Eph 5 is what the wife does (“submit”). And for 1 Co 11, you have nothing at all. Why is that? So contextual support is key.

  29. “Please give a relevant time field therefore to see what kephale means. Is 100BC-200AD relevant or is that too broad?”

    That is the kind of restriction Grudem and Kostenberger impose in order to exclude negative meanings for authenteo. Shouldn’t we use a similar standard for kephale?

    I use the Liddell Scott lexicon and the BDAG as a resource from which to consider the different occurrences of a word, and then look up the references and read the word in context.

  30. Contextual support is key – Context is King.

  31. Mark,
    This is why I don’t focus my main arguments on the meaning of Greek words. My main arguments have to do with the whole-picture view of the Bible (creation in unity; fall and separation; restoration of unity in Christ); with how Paul himself used the word “head,” with what Paul and Peter DIDN’T say about husbandly authority (compared to what they had no problem saying about other forms of authority); with not reading things into the text that come from Church tradition; and with letting the Law of Love be our main guide (if you wouldn’t want someone insisting they have a birthright to rule you, don’t insist you have a birthright to rule someone else).

    As far as I’m concerned, insisting on husbandly authority based on two words: “head” and “submit,” interpreted through Church tradition that bears every evidence of being rooted in the male desire to rule– is the wrong foundation on which to decide that men have a God-given right to be in authority over their wives.

  32. I believe that the head – body metaphor should be interpreted to mean that God shares his nature with Christ, man with woman, and Christ with man. This is Paul’s cosmology. We share a common nature.

    Sue,

    I think your work is the best to help people understand the depths of what we are dealing with when it comes to prejudice interpretations of Grudem and co.

    And I think that this understanding of kephale is fine for 1 Co 11 (with “aner” being used for “mankind”?), but I do have to say that there is no head/body metaphor in 1 Co 11. Just kephale – no mention of body, and this is because Christ is not in union with the Godhead the same way that a man or woman or he and the church are in union. His union belongs to the church (the body), not the Godhead. And mankind or even just males can’t be the body of Christ either. As far as I know the head/body metaphor is only used of a certain kind of “union” (husband and wife) – not husband and children or husband and home or Godhead and Christ, or Christ and mankind etc…

    In my opinion, Grudem’s been had as seen by the work you’ve done. Many know it. Thanks for all you’ve done! And I don’t really concern myself with Grudem’s mess anymore because of the work you’ve done. So when this kind of discussion arises I just sit back and read, cause Grudem’s already been had. (It’s been shown that his work is not reliable, full of error and he is not a Greek scholar anyway.)

    Oh yeah, and to add to #28, Mark you never did provide contextual support for “God” in the passage to mean “the Father”. I know we went over this quit awhile ago… I bring this up because the bottom line is the context in which any word is found in. We have contextual support that Paul’s uasge was for the Godhead!! But again, you don’t have contextual supprot for your interpretation. I’ll leave it again as I already did in comment #28 – Context is King and especialy since the scripture themselves, we believe are the inspired word of God – not any lexicons.

    I need more coffee!

  33. (if you wouldn’t want someone insisting they have a birthright to rule you, don’t insist you have a birthright to rule someone else).

    This is the simple anwser. No way to get around that. Love it.

  34. I appreciate your vote of confidence, but the more I study this, the less I understand it. I definitely read 1 Cor. 11 in the light of both 1 Cor. 7, relational mutuality, and 1 Cor. 15,

    “39All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.”

    In some way, God and Christ are of the same essence, as a human Christ is of the same essence as mankind, and as humans men and women share the same essence. This is unique to Christianity, the link between God and humans.

    But in some ways, Paul seems very influenced in his language by certain presuppositions. Woman is for man, but then again, man is of woman. He backtracks and reshapes. I don’t see scripture as one hundred per cent consistent. I would have to say that most scholars don’t.

  35. In some way, God and Christ are of the same essence, as a human Christ is of the same essence as mankind, and as humans men and women share the same essence. This is unique to Christianity, the link between God and humans.

    I agree.

    But in some ways, Paul seems very influenced in his language by certain presuppositions. Woman is for man, but then again, man is of woman. He backtracks and reshapes. I don’t see scripture as one hundred per cent consistent. I would have to say that most scholars don’t.

    Sue,

    but the woman is the glory of man. 8For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.

    I do see scripture as 100% consistent. When Paul’s says “woman was made for man” he can only be refering to Genesis where Adam was alone and so God made the woman for Adam (his aloneness). Two things are noted in Genesis, one woman was made from Adam and two she was made for his aloneness. Adam needed a companion. In that way woman was for man. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

  36. I’ve to make a correction because terms do matter.

    …things are noted in Genesis, one woman was made from “man” not “Adam”, the human). Adam said that she was taken from “man” (male human).

  37. “I do see scripture as 100% consistent.”

    I realize that. I want to be fair to Mark, however, and admit that I personally really don’t have a watertight answer. I don’t want him to misunderstand my position.

    I am completely convinced, however, that the complementarian position, is not clear and obvious and indisputable. In fact, I think it would seem very odd to Paul, just as modern egalitarianism also would. I really believe he more or less took women as they came, in all ages, single, married, mothers, sisters, etc, and didn’t make it his mission to subordinate women.

  38. I see, Sue.

    I am completely convinced, however, that the complementarian position, is not clear and obvious and indisputable.

    Me too. In fact, further I’m convinced that it’s not even supportable.

    And I agree that he didn’t make the subordination of women his mission (and they were already subordinated by his culture anyway).

  39. There is not one comp who has contextual support for his interpretation that says since the wife is told to submit therefore the husband has authority over the wife and they cannot provid any contextual support for kephale to mean “authority over”.

    In 1 Co 11, they doen’t even have anything to use to offer for an argument. And having no contextual support for “God” to mean the Father is HUGE. The subordination of the Trinity falls on that alone. And there IS contextual support that “God” means the Godhead.

    In Genesis, comps interpret that Adam was created first to mean that he had authority over Eve ONLY because of the way they interpret Paul in 1 Tim 2. So they read their interpretation of 1 Tim 2 back into Genesis. And they use “helpmeet” also to try and support their position which already began in 1 Tim 2.

    And on and on it goes…

  40. pinklight,

    On and on is right – just look back at #6 where Mark tries to find “authority” when it’s not in Greek. Notice he had no reply to that one at all. Just tack that one on to gengwall’s list (in Post#2) of all the things comps have to overlook.

    Yes, the main point we have is that none of the hierarchist’s view squares with the Law of Love & “not so with you.”

  41. Mark said: “Yes my wife and i are included in Eph 5:21 since we are both members of the Christian community. We are included in the ‘one another’ as are all Christians in the Church. We will submit to those in the Christian community that God places over us.”

    Mark,

    Does the wife have to obey the church authorities?
    If so, do they have final say over the husband if it comes to that?

    You have not yet explained why for YOU, “one another” does not mean “one another” but only “some to others?”

    By your exegesis, YOU are not submitting to “one another” but only to “some others”- why are you excused from your own call for consistency in Bible exegesis?

  42. @ Kay: I think that’s the essential problem. You nailed it when you said, “Yes, the main point we have is that none of the hierarchist’s view squares with the Law of Love & “not so with you.””

    The whole issue, I think, needs to be reframed by the Law of Love. We have to consider how loving it is for a husband to try to take authority over his wife, as if she were somehow incapable of making decisions for herself (or of dealing with the consequences if they turn out to be the wrong decisions). We have to consider if it is at all loving for a husband to assert that his is the final decision in all matters, and the wife consistently has to sacrifice the things she wants and needs in the name of “submission”, just so the husband can have his way (sounds like kids in the sandbox, where one gets his own way all the time, to the detriment of the others).

    My fiance and I have had to learn this the hard way. We had a very painful fight over this issue (I said words which can be printed here; I think I even threw things at him), and we didn’t talk for three days. What came out of that fight was a needed commitment to working together, not one-up, one-down. We relearned the importance of what some consider a “dirty” word: compromise. It’s still awkward sometimes, but a whole lot better than the alternative.

  43. can’t……keep…….up

    You all seem to be doing a great job. I think I’ll float on the sidelines for a while.

  44. “In Genesis, comps interpret that Adam was created first to mean that he had authority over Eve ONLY because of the way they interpret Paul in 1 Tim 2.”

    Pinklight, 39
    So, for a few thousand years men were left up to their own devices to create a reason to dominate women. :) They don’t appear to have had any trouble coming up with reasons. For them it was the old concepts of the stronger rule the weaker. It is just that that will no longer fly. So godly hierarchalists have to think up a ‘godly’ reasoning in order to continue that tradition.

  45. “…things are noted in Genesis, one woman was made from “man” not “Adam”, the human). Adam said that she was taken from “man” (male human).”

    Pinklight, 36

    I’ve often wondered though if Adam, the human, was male before God created the woman and brought gender into the picture. Referring to ‘the human’, is not a reference noting gender. And it does seem that was a deliberate difference in wording.

  46. TL,
    I’ve pondered that as well. Sex/gender are terms used to distinguish biological differences. Before Eve, Adam had nothing from which to be distinguished. Hmmm…

  47. Allison said:
    “We have to consider how loving it is for a husband to try to take authority over his wife, as if she were somehow incapable of making decisions for herself (or of dealing with the consequences if they turn out to be the wrong decisions). We have to consider if it is at all loving for a husband to assert that his is the final decision in all matters, and the wife consistently has to sacrifice the things she wants and needs in the name of “submission”, just so the husband can have his way (sounds like kids in the sandbox, where one gets his own way all the time, to the detriment of the others).”

    I have to say also, that even in complementarian marriages where neither of these things take place, where the husband is self-sacrificially serving his wife as Ephesians 5 directs him to, there are still negative consequences to the assertion that the husband somehow has a birthright to the role of “leader” and the wife is born to the role of “follower.” God said it was not good for the man to be alone, so He gave him an “ezer kenego” (“facing-him strong help”). “Facing him” implies equality, as does the fact that she was taken from his side and is of exactly the same substance as he. “Ezer” means “strong help” and is the word used of God when He helps Israel. When the husband turns his “facing-him strong help” into a “subordinate to him sidekick/assistant,” the man has rendered himself effectively alone again– for God showed him that none of the things the man was to rule were capable of being what he needed not to be alone.

    The woman was meant to rule the creation beside the man, not be one of the things that is ruled. When he rules her, however sacrificially or benevolently, I believe that a man places himself under a strain that he was never meant to bear. It’s lonely at the top, and it’s lonely for the man to take the top place and not raise the woman up from the place the curse gave her, to be strong and at his side once again.

  48. Alison,

    Thanks for being so honest about the painful maturing process you and your fiance experienced. The maturation of both of you would be very limited in a non-compromise his-way relationship. So, I think your “kids in the sandbox” illustration was spot on. I firmly believe it actually stunts us in our Christian walk and encourages childish behavior.

    In other human relationships and activities most mature people understand and recognize that decision by the few is dangerously limiting, and realize that single points of view are only a tiny fraction of the realm of possibility.

  49. I’ve often wondered though if Adam, the human, was male before God created the woman and brought gender into the picture.

    TL,
    I think Adam was male before God created the woman because he says he was -She shall be called woman for she was taken out of man (male). Adam could have said that she was taken out of “adam”.

  50. On and on is right – just look back at #6 where Mark tries to find “authority” when it’s not in Greek. Notice he had no reply to that one at all. Just tack that one on to gengwall’s list (in Post#2) of all the things comps have to overlook.

    Yes, the main point we have is that none of the hierarchist’s view squares with the Law of Love & “not so with you.”

    I saw that, Kay. “gengwall’s list”. Love it.

    The “Law of Love”. Love it. People think that they are so special that they are exempt from the Law of Love. And how does an exemption from that Law make one special?

  51. The whole issue, I think, needs to be reframed by the Law of Love. We have to consider how loving it is for a husband to try to take authority over his wife,

    Oh, but this is why the focus is on what the woman/wife does as I found out. It’s about what she does rather than the hsuband forcing her. That sure is the way around that one!

  52. When the husband turns his “facing-him strong help” into a “subordinate to him sidekick/assistant,” the man has rendered himself effectively alone again

    Yep.

  53. Sue,

    I appreciate your interaction very much. BUt let me straighten a few things out. First, you quoted Cyril and asked me to give you evidence for my position…not vice versa. This i have done. You now ask me for pre-NT data? I thought that we covered this one…i.e the LXX. There IS evidence in the LXX for my position, and there IS NOT evidence in the LXX for a ‘source’ meaning.

    I think thought that you have hit a nail on the head. Much of your research has been to disprove a comp theology, yet you cannot offer anyone an alternative. Although i disagree that your research proves as much as other people state, i wonder why you cannot offer an alternative understanding. Can you please inform this blog and it’s followers that ‘source’ is clearly NOT an appropriate alternative and thus, all interpretations that argue for such, a simply unsupportable. If people here were truly interested in your research they would except your conclusions on this!

    If we could at least all agree on this, we could proceed in the discussion. For me, it seems like a waste of time to argue for a ‘source’ meaning for the NT when there is no extrabiblical evidence for such a meaning of kephale. I wont argue for my position, i’d rather work through the ‘possible’ meanings first, but we need to agree that source is not factually supported. Are people willing to admit that?

  54. Kristen,

    “This is why I don’t focus my main arguments on the meaning of Greek words.”

    I appreciate your stance on Biblical authority- i really do. However, the problem with your position by rejecting the meaning of biblical words, is that you are giving your ‘own’ meanings to those biblical words.
    To ‘really’ understand the passages we must understand the Biblical words, so that we interpret the passage correctly.

    I agree that the ‘whole’ meaning of a passage is not based on the words alone. Thus, why i disagree fundamentally with some interpretations that focus on ‘universal’ language as the focal point. All relevant data needs to be understood in a passage, aswell as what the ‘words mean’ in a normal context.

  55. Mark said,
    “. . . your position. . . rejecting the meaning of biblical words. . .”
    I find that remark highly offensive. How on earth you got from “I don’t focus my main arguments on the meanings of Greek words” to “I reject the meaning of biblical words” is completely beyond me.
    I am not giving my own meanings to biblical words. That’s insulting. What I’m saying is that the Bible adds light to the lexicons just as much as the other way around. Let Paul’s use of the words “head of the body,” inform us as to what he means other times when he says “head of the body.” Let the context of the passage inform us as to the meaning of a phrase. Let the themes of the letter overall, inform us as to the meaning of a phrase. But don’t just bow down to the lexicon and say, “BDAG says this is what the phrase means, so this is what it means.”

  56. Mark, I think you are also misreading Sue’s position on “kephale” as “source.” Here is one of her essays on the subject:
    http://powerscourt.blogspot.com/2009/11/orphism-and.html
    Her position is much more nuanced and not nearly as simplistic as you are making it. I am not the only one whose words are getting oversimplified to say things we never meant at all. I would ask you to please read more carefully.

  57. When I said this:
    “But don’t just bow down to the lexicon and say, “BDAG says this is what the phrase means, so this is what it means” —
    I had lost my temper, sorry. I didn’t mean that you were actually doing this, Mark– but I think it is a danger of elevating the lexicon meaning too high.

  58. Mark,

    This is the way I see it.

    First, one cannot demonstrate that kephale means “leader” in native Greek preceding or at the time of the NT. One can also not demonstrate that kephale means “source” at the time of or preceding the NT.

    It is true that kephale is used for Jephthah to translate rosh, and this appears to mean leader or something like it. This is unusual and since it is the only case, I don’t think that Paul would honour it. It is very odd that this is the only person ever called kephale over a group of people.

    I do think that kephale meant “head” and somehow, there is a complex metaphorical language built up in the scriptures first for the “body” of Christ, and then encorporating “head” and “body.” This is not found in the LXX.

    I see this as interacting with the notion of the church as “one body.” Some people see this one body as a single visible hiearchical entity like the Roman Catholic church. Others see the one body as organic and mutually supportive but not a single organizational entity. I am of the latter. I am not Catholic and do not support hierarchical organizations except inasmuch as they enable constituent members to function better. They should not function to subordinate member churches.

    I am trying to be honest, and not give the impression that I know more than I do. Frankly, I think it would be better if more theologians were this honest, comps or egals. But that is just my opinion. I don’t think you should speak to me with such a coercive tone. It is becoming a little uncomfortable.

  59. To continue, both “leader” and “source” are found in the commentary of the early church fathers, as interpretations of kephale. To my mind, they stand as equally possible interpretations if kephale is essentially regarded as metaphor.

    It is true that I researched this particular topic to argue against it. However, unlike Grudem and others of his persuasion, I studied Greek for many years before I ever attempted exegesis of any kind. Usually this is the other way around for most theologians. They have certain ideas about exegesis in mind, and as they study Greek, they build up their knowledge of the language around their exegetical notions.

  60. Mark,
    Suzanne said to you:

    I don’t think you should speak to me with such a coercive tone.

    I agree. Your tone has gone very aggressive against Suzanne and that is very inappropriate. You are treating her as if she is trying to con people. I would think that an apology is in order.

  61. The Hebrew word for the literal “head” is rosh and this corresponds to the Greek kephale. It would be important to see if the Hebrew word that corresponds to kephale can mean source. This is even more important than the LXX since the LXX is a translation of the original inspired Word. So going back to the original Hebrew words, what does the original mean?

    The Hebrew word for “head” can mean “source”. Here is a screen print:

    ex-6-25

  62. So if the literal “head” in Hebrew can mean source, there is no reason why Paul could not have used the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew rosh which is kephale to mean the source, beginning or capstone. After all if Jesus is the capstone of the church, is not the husband the capstone of the wife? It is the beginning stone where everything else is built upon. It is the foundation, not the ruler.

  63. #54 Mark,
    You said:

    I appreciate your stance on Biblical authority- i really do. However, the problem with your position by rejecting the meaning of biblical words, is that you are giving your ‘own’ meanings to those biblical words.
    To ‘really’ understand the passages we must understand the Biblical words, so that we interpret the passage correctly.

    Let’s see if you measure up to your own advice. Can you admit that the Hebrew equivalent of kephale, the Hebrew word rosh, can mean source or beginning?

  64. Mark,
    On the previous part #2 of this topic you said:

    Read 2 Peter 2, where Paul explicitly links false teachers with despising authority.

    This has nothing to do with “authority” in the church. The Greek term is “lordship” and what they were despising is the lordship of Jesus.

    The False Teachers despised the power and majesty of the Lord.
    Bigg, C. (1901). A critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude (279).

  65. pinklight,
    On the previous comment thread you said:

    Just because Christ has authority doesn’t mean husbands do.

    Just because husbands don;’t have authority doesn’t mean that Christ doesn’t.

    Amen!

  66. Suzanne,
    On the previous comment thread, you said:

    There is no case in Greek literature prior to the NT, where the word kephale was used for a person in order to indicate that he was the authority over his own wife, family, house, tribe or nation, – other than Jephthah. Even then, he wasn’t leader of his own clan, but brought in for a certain reason.

    Good point!

  67. Kay,
    You said:

    “2. Do Church leaders have authority?”

    It’s not their own personal authority obtained from God. It is the authority of God’s Word. The authority is God’s. Paul didn’t take authority over people, but rather authority over error and false doctrine.

    That is such an important point. To one who was to be a watchman to protect the sheep was told to take authority over them. The authority was to identify false doctrine and to speak forth God’s word (1 Peter 4:10, 11) But the sheep were to submit to the protection for the reason that the watchman on the wall did not have personal power or authority over them. If the church did not listen to the warning, there is nothing that the watchman could do to force them.

  68. I don’t have time to reply to everything that has been said here. My time has been taken up much more than I had expected so I was off line a lot while you folks were giving your thoughtful opinions. Gengwall, Sue, Kristen, Kay, TL, pinklight, Carig and Susanna have all contributed here with clarity. (Hope I didn’t miss anyone. If so please accept my deepest apologies.) Mark also has popped in from time to time to stir up the water, but that’s a good thing for the most part. As long as we keep our eyes on the subject at hand and not attribute motives that we can’t see to our opponents. Mark has also had some good challenging questions that have kept us going but there is much that he hasn’t answered. I will assume that it is due to a lack of time rather than an inability to even consider the questions.

    Sue has been pushed on the Greek and for the most part that is good. Sue is an excellent Greek scholar, but I don’t think that she claims to be an experienced exegete. She just knows that the words mean and then tries hard to apply that to the text. I give her a lot of credit for that.

    What I would like to do is remind everyone that this issue of authority and submission to authority instead of submission because of our Christian duty and our love of Christ is an important one. The reason is because we are told as Christians that we are not to have lord over others.

    Paul said:

    2 Corinthians 1:24 (NAS)
    24 Not that we lord it over your faith, but are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm.

    The Greek term here is kyrieuo and it means to rule. Paul said that even the apostles are not ruling over every one’s faith but are workers with them.

    Peter says the same thing:

    1 Peter 5:2–3 (NAS)
    2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;
    3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.

    Those who were to protect the flock were to “exercise oversight” which means they were to “care for” the flock. They were not to “lord over” the flock. The Greek term here means to rule over.

    The last witness or the required two or three witnesses has been used several times here already. It is the witness of Jesus.

    Luke 22:25–26 (NAS)
    25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’
    26 “But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.

    What is it that they were not to do? Look at the word used by Jesus:

    luke22-25

    They were not to exercise dominion or have authoritative rule over the church. Instead they were to be servants working for the good of the church instead of acting as rulers who took an authoritative stand with the church.

  69. One last word for tonight to Craig.

    Craig,
    I really appreciate you and your wife following the blog and asking questions and working hard to learn the truth from the text itself. There are so many who have made up their minds in advance that it is so refreshing to actually hear from those who are in a place where they are open enough to test both sides. Thanks for just being here!

    I do have one question for you, though. You mentioned that you watched my DVDs set “Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?” What did you think? Did they help you at all? Were they able to give you some answers or did you have more questions after watching them then you did before? I appreciate any feedback that you can give me. One of the projects that I am working on right now is the research part of another DVD series. If you have any comments on the way that WIM was laid out that was good or bad that would be helpful for me in my next project.

  70. #61

    Talk about one swipe lol! Ghees. If things couldn’t get any simpler lol!

  71. Cheryl,
    We found the DVD’s very helpful and well produced. Things that impressed us:
    1. Your strong view on the the bible and that you work hard to understand its true meaning. Your arguments are from scripture, not the world’s latest thinking. Also, you don’t shy away from the difficult passages, you tackle them head on.
    2. Your gracious approach to those who have a different view.
    3. God has gifted you in teaching the bible and presenting things in a way that is clear, logical and easy to undertstand. (Well as much as it can be!)
    4. You present the opposing view accurately and in their own words- you are not arguing against “straw men”.

    The DVDs gave us lots of answers but also opened up a whole new set of questions as we look further into the subject.

    The lay out was excellent. I wonder though whether having you speaking from a pulpit may be a bit provocative for some, depending on where they are at in their thinking.
    A contents on the cover to make it easier to know which passages are dealt with and which DVD they are on would make it easier to find things for future study.
    Overall excellent and thank you.

  72. Another question on Eph 1:22 if I may. I am quite ignorant of Greek unfortunately. I was wondering if anyone may know if in “head over all things” “over” can only mean “over” and not mean “of”. Source or origin “of” all (good) things to the church makes good and simple sense to me, but if it must be “over” then preeminent one or authority would seem to me to make more sense. Thanks.

  73. Mark,
    It’s honorable to be defending what you believe, but it appears you are trying to create a dividing line here that comes uncomfortably close to a good versus evil judgment and I, as well as others, sense a bit of persecution. This seems to me a very unchristian dividing line. Of course, anyone committed to Christ should not simply accept all that they read uncritically. And yes, there will be passionate discussions – but here again, let’s not forsake the Law of Love while doing so.

  74. #72 good question Craig. I don’t have time to research but I think others are more qualified to answer anyway. I do know we have found that Greek prepositions can vary in meaning. Of note was our discussion some time back of the hypo portion of hypotasso and it’s possible meaning of “with” instead of “under”.

  75. Hey Mark – let’s circle back. Since my wife was the one who made the decision whether or not the children could leave the table after dinner, were we sinners, operating outside of the will of God? Were we violating Paul’s directive? Was I shriking my responsibility as a proper “head”? Was she usurping my authority by not submitting properly to me “in all things”?

  76. Craig,

    for huper Thayer’s lists the following

    1. in behalf of, for the sake of
    2. over, beyond, more than
    3. more, beyond, over

  77. In another definition for huper, it said it can also mean existing in other spatial dimensions. I thought that was interesting.

  78. …. Ephe. says Christ is kephale huper EVERYthing FOR the church, that can be referring to God’s creatorship over all creation in all dimensions….

    Cool!

  79. I find it interesting to note that Grudem’s own research of the use of kephale “proved” that it meant “source” zero times. However his research did show that it was used to mean “origin” (or other synonyms) more than anything else (other than literal head).

    Of course he failed to recognise that “source” and “origin” are also synonyms…but other than that I like his research!

    I find it frustrating that this has degenerated to a discussion centred around word meanings. The fact that Mark would not accept that submission does not dictate authority (despite modern English dictionaries) shows that we will have little joy in determining the meaning of words used 2000 years ago with him.

    I just recently had another one of those discussions where I was labelled a heretic and a prowling wolf. Grrr… At least there was no quibbling over the meaning of words as clearly defined…though I did question if he knew what a heretic was…he did! :-(

  80. Hi Dave! Good to see you still pop in every now and then :)

    Last time someone called me a heretic for the fight for freedom (egalism), they wish they hadn’t…they were so filled with hate when they did. It can be a very serious thing…

  81. That’s precisely the problem, pinklight. It’s the ultimate insult, “dropping the h-bomb” on someone with whom you disagree. It is uncharitable, manipulative and childish, to say the least. Even to imply that someone is a heretic is to tread some dangerous ground, ground that one does not easily come back from. As we seek to flesh out what submission is and isn’t, let’s please keep the fact that we are brothers and sisters in Christ first and foremost.

    I know I can be sarcastic and harsh, but a lot of that comes from pain and frustration with people who are telling me that if as a woman I’m not doing x, y, or z, I am somehow less of a woman, somehow missing out on what God is calling me. So, if I have offended anyone, I apologize, and will work on responding to some of these issues from a place of loving reason, not mere emotionality. I pray that we can, even in our disagreements, be a community that calls out the best from each other. I am sorry for not playing a part in making that happen. Just my feeling.

  82. Dave @79,
    You said “I find it frustrating that this has degenerated to a discussion centred around word meanings.”
    I am not sure what you mean by this, or if it is directed at me at all, but if it is any encouragement to you, I am new to all this and don’t believe it has “degenerated ” at all. I am genuinely interested in the debate on word meanings. It seems that determining Paul’s meaning of words like “head” and “submission” are critical. The information I have been reading has been helpful, even if it has been to realise that it is not an easy issue. It makes sense to me that if Paul really meant something, the meanings given to the words should blend with the context in a natural way and should be consistent with the range of meanings at the time of writing.
    I think I am satisfied that “submission” doesn’t require one to be under authority, but I am still thinking through the “head” passages. I can see how Eph 4 and Eph 5 fit well with non-authoritative concepts, but I still have some questions on Eph 1 and the input from others has been helpful.

  83. “but I am still thinking through the “head” passages. I can see how Eph 4 and Eph 5 fit well with non-authoritative concepts, but I still have some questions on Eph 1 and the input from others has been helpful.”

    I think we can get bogged down sometimes and miss the big picture. We have to get a overall view of the entire picture of scripture and ask hard questions. these are just a few:

    1. Why is there nothing in the OT against women teaching men? But now, in the NT, there is? Why more legalism in the NT? Why would the OT allow women such as Huldah and Deborah? Was that sin? Why would someone like Abigail be considered wise for going against her husband?

    2. Would God actually put a human authority layer between Jesus Christ and married women? What would be the function of the Holy Spirit in a married woman’s life, if that is the case?

    3. If authority is meant in the ‘head’ passages then why didn’t the Holy Spirit inspire clear authority words to the author’s? There are several to choose from that would clearly communicate it is an authority, chain of command stance.

    4. Why would a group of women be allowed to follow Jesus around (at least one was married) and support him financially if this was not their ‘role’.

    5. Why would women be allowed to prophecy only on Pentecost and not for the church age? What would be the point of the Joel Prophecy?

    6. Why can we not see that focusing on who is in charge, who is most important, etc, in Christian marriage or the Body of Christ is a very worldly and unChristian focus? So many try to turn “servant” into authority. The entire meaning is lost and it becomes a ‘religion’ of man and works. And it “usurps” the function of the Holy Spirit in believers lives.

  84. Craig,
    I feel certain those comments aren’t directed at you in any fashion. Dave’s been commenting here for some time – and we have already been thoroughly over these meanings with the comps who are engaged in the discussion. I think that end of the conversation is what he would be referring to – I’m sure Dave will assure you asap.

  85. Hi Pinklight! I find I cannot stay away from my friends here for too long!

    Craig, I was not having a go at you. I have been encouraged by your open and honest dialogue that to me appears to be seeking the truth. My frustration has to do with the “M” man.

    I assume others have noticed that this conversation with Mark goes around in great big circles (as well as lots of little ones). Along the way Mark is asked LOTS of questions and lots of good points are made. These he does not respond to. He responds to anything he thinks he can use to discredit the egal argument, but not to anything that will hurt his perspective. In the meantime I have seen others like Cheryl and Kay and others (all of you) patiently explain and re-explain and try very hard to respond to EVERYTHING Mark says.

    One example for me is the issue of whether or not authority is tied to submission. We have never been given the reference details or the entire definition of submission from Mark’s Oxford Dictionary that seems to be the only dictionary supporting his view. He either ignored other definitions I offered or argued over the wording in a way that demonstrated no desire to see or accept what the definitions were actually saying. Mark is trying to change the meaning of a word – and this is an English word. Obviously with the meaning of Greek words from 2000 years ago we can keep a discussion going for ever!

    Can we move forward in a discussion where one or both parties take this tactic? I think not. As a result I have concluded that my role in this discussion with Mark from now on will mainly be one of prayer! I have found my attitude has changed towards Mark. The same happened when I blogged for extended period with an Athiest group here in Sydney. I came to a point where I realised they did not want to know the truth. I was surprised I had not come to this conclusion sooner! I am not saying Mark is an Athiest(!) but I am saying that I have come to the conclusion that he is not seeking the truth in this issue. I realise I could be wrong, I realise that I am commenting to some degree on Mark’s motives, but I am being honest about how I feel. I am struggling with this conversation more and more. I think it has shown in my comments and I hope by expressing this I can be more my cheerful self again. I am sorry for my negativity and I think it has been a credit to others here that this has not been contageous.

    Just keep seeking the truth in love Craig. I think your questions and your contribution have been great.

  86. Thanks Dave for clarifying. I can understand where you are coming from.

  87. Lydia,
    It is some of these “big picture” issues that I find most convincing regarding the egal position. But if it is true, then the smaller details should fit nicely in with it also.
    There are so many issues involved, and I feel a bit like my “head” :) is in a spin trying to sort them all out. To take your list for example:
    “1. Why is there nothing in the OT against women teaching men? But now, in the NT, there is? Why more legalism in the NT? Why would the OT allow women such as Huldah and Deborah? Was that sin? Why would someone like Abigail be considered wise for going against her husband?”
    I think this point is a major point for egals. The point that male authority is never clearly instituted by God but has to be implied until we get to Paul and Peter would seem strange. Even some comps seem to acknowledge that they would not get the hierarchy from the O.T. without the teaching of the new. I have read some replies to this from comps but I think I favour egals on this one. I don’t like calling it “legalism” as you do. I am not sure that it is accurate and possibly clouds rather than clarifies the issue.

  88. “2. Would God actually put a human authority layer between Jesus Christ and married women? What would be the function of the Holy Spirit in a married woman’s life, if that is the case?”
    I am not sure about this one. I know many comps, women included, who would not see this as an issue.
    Does having someone in authority over me really put a layer between me and Jesus and prevent the Holy Spirit from functioning? I think this language is too strong. I know some have questioned this, but I still believe that as a child, my parents had authority over me, and Jesus and the Holy Spirit still worked wonderfully in me. Likewise I believe the government has authority over me and doesn’t create any “layers” that hinder my relationship with God. I think the issue is whether the husband has really been given authority by God. I can understand when comps aren’t convinced by this, but maybe I just don’t understand the argument properly.

  89. “3. If authority is meant in the ‘head’ passages then why didn’t the Holy Spirit inspire clear authority words to the author’s? There are several to choose from that would clearly communicate it is an authority, chain of command stance.”
    I agree with you regarding the ones I have studied most. I still have to do a bit more work with some of the passages.

  90. “4. Why would a group of women be allowed to follow Jesus around (at least one was married) and support him financially if this was not their ‘role’.”
    Do most comps have a problem with this? The ones I know have a problem with women being an overseer, but no problem with women following Jesus or giving money.

  91. “5. Why would women be allowed to prophecy only on Pentecost and not for the church age? What would be the point of the Joel Prophecy”
    This does get into an area where there seems to be a lot of “messiness” and “fiddling” with meanings and passages to work out what is correct practice for the comps I know.
    I think Cheryl termed it “where do you draw the line”. The comps I know do believe in women “prophesying” but not being allowed the “authoritative teaching” role in the church. Women are allowed to teach children but to what age? They are allowed to take part in all manner of ways in home groups but not to lead them. They can pray and do lots of stuff in the church meeting but not the sermon from the pulpit. All these issues seem very messy. Trying to differentiate prophesying from teaching. Trying to differentiate teaching one on one or in a home group to the “authoritative teaching” from a pulpit (which didn’t exist in the early church)etc. The practical difficulties of the comp view seem to favour the egals.

  92. Craig,
    Here’s another thought to consider on the “big picture” – even Christian marriages between God loving spouses can and do encounter circumstances and tragedies beyond their control that render the husband unable to lead anyone. Logic and life itself reveal that husbands having the protector/provider leader role is not a univeral truth. Because, clearly we’ve all encountered exceptions in the lives of Christian neighbors, friends and family members with disabilities, illness and aging issues, who cannot fulfill that “role” even if they wanted to.

    If a “biblical role” can have even one small exception, then it cannot possibly be a command for every marriage.

  93. “6. Why can we not see that focusing on who is in charge, who is most important, etc, in Christian marriage or the Body of Christ is a very worldly and unChristian focus? So many try to turn “servant” into authority. The entire meaning is lost and it becomes a ‘religion’ of man and works. And it “usurps” the function of the Holy Spirit in believers lives.”
    This may be true of some comps, but not all. The comps I know focus very much on loving, sacrificial service as the way of exercising leadership and authority. So they would not see this as an argument at all and I can agree with them.
    A related issue is one I am thinking through though. Is there such a thing as “soft” authority? Leadership is exercised in a sacrificial loving way and so “taking authority” never really comes up. After 27 years of very happy marriage as a “soft” comp I have never used the “authority card”. We have always mutually decided on things and worked together as a team. I wore the leader badge but have never had to use it. So in this aspect, I am not sure if our marriage would practically change at all if we became egal. I am just seeking to know the truth. The question does the authority really exist if it is never exercised is a good one.

  94. Kay@92,
    “clearly we’ve all encountered exceptions in the lives of Christian neighbors, friends and family members with disabilities, illness and aging issues, who cannot fulfill that “role” even if they wanted to.
    If a “biblical role” can have even one small exception, then it cannot possibly be a command for every marriage.”
    Thanks Kay. I think this is a good point. It is a bit the same as some comps “allowing” for women to lead in missionary situations for a short time until the men are able to do it. These practical “exceptions” go against the idea of a universal law since creation that is sin to break.

  95. To all,

    First, i have said nothing attackingly or aggresively over the kephale discussion. We are dealing with pure facts here and not theology. Thus lies the problem in blogging- it’s hard to communicate effectively. If i have come across too strong, it has not been out of hate or anger for any-please believe that!

    Second, Dave you are right in some regards. Discussion here has gone from one of insight, into one of trying to defend the truth of the Bible. This is not my blog, and as such i have no need or interest to answer every question. I do not have time for it, nor do i have an interest in it, when simple facts cannot even be agreed on. For example, many want to hold onto a ‘source’ teaching for kephale, without a shred of evidence. None pre-NT, none of the NT, none after. The closest comes from 400-500AD and is ambiguous and can actually equally support authority. How many texts other than the NT are there for my position…50 or so! Therefore, why should i be heading off into other discussions ATM when we can’t even agree here. Regarding synonyms- you overstate it. Beginning and source are not synonymous. Thus why Greek scholars seperate them. For example, my oldest son is the ‘beginning’ of my sons, but he is not the ‘source’ of my sons. That is why Grudem’s research is accurate and correct and he corrects his findings when appropriate. Just explain why source is used only in plural external texts, but you insist on it for singular uses in the NT? Please do keep praying for me, i’d appreciate that and i’ll do the same. Just be prepared to be challenged on your position and deal with facts. The way i see it, it doesn’t appear you are looking either for the truth…you seem very set in your position. Anyway, i might pop into your blog some time and say gday…i’ve followed your discussions with Steve Coxhead just so you know! Maybe i’ll pop into Ryde pressie one day too!

    I’m bowing out…iv’e enjoyed the dialogue but must insist as a brother in Christ that you look at your own motives, look at the scriptures, look at the facts. I’ll pray for you all, and i hope you do the same for me. There is much at stake in these issues and i’m glad none take it lightly- the glory of Christ is at stake here. A challenge for us all, should be to keep Christ and His glory as THE foundation of all these discussions, any thing less is dishonourable. If you look at your own motive before God privately, and are still convinced of your position, there is nothing i can say or do. We will all stand before God on the day to give an account- nothing is hidden from Him. This should make us all (including me) shudder!

    I’ll be honest and say i’m very disappointed at much of the theology that has come from this blog from all contributors. But that said, i am convinced that you all have a commitment to scripture and a commitment to Jesus our Lord. I look forward to worshipping Him with you all in the new heavens and earth, where perfection reigns, sin is no more, and where the glory of God gives light for the day.

    God bless!

  96. Craig #71,

    Thank you so much for such good words about my DVDs! You said:

    1. Your strong view on the the bible and that you work hard to understand its true meaning. Your arguments are from scripture, not the world’s latest thinking. Also, you don’t shy away from the difficult passages, you tackle them head on.

    I felt very strongly that God had called me to work hard on the Scriptures that seemed to support the complementarian position. We can play Scriptural pingpong all day long without any resolution. The problem is not that we do not have support for our position but that we have not made the effort to understand the Scriptures that the opposition uses. When the key Scriptures that complementarians use becomes a strong argument for our own side, then having answered the challenge, our own strong Scriptures then become a powerful position.

    2. Your gracious approach to those who have a different view.

    Thank you! I believe that I heard the Lord speak very clearly to me that I was not to rip at the sheep. My approach had to be with gentleness and respect.

    4. You present the opposing view accurately and in their own words- you are not arguing against “straw men”.

    One complementarian pastor who was giving us feedback in the editing stage advised me not to use the audio clips but only have someone read out the quotes. I disagreed. I believe that it was very valuable for people to hear the quotes from the original author with their own inflexion. That way it is not me that is putting an “attitude” into the quote that is not there in the original. Everyone can hear for themselves what is said in the way it is said by the original author.

    The DVDs gave us lots of answers but also opened up a whole new set of questions as we look further into the subject.

    Wonderful! I am glad that they were a catalyst for you for go beyond what was covered in the DVDs.

    The lay out was excellent. I wonder though whether having you speaking from a pulpit may be a bit provocative for some, depending on where they are at in their thinking.

    Actually it was a podium in a lecture hall, not actually a pulpit in a church. But you are correct in that a podium can look like a pulpit. We weren’t worried about the podium, but about having a woman speaking. If a person was offended by a woman speaking, then they wouldn’t even get as far as the part with the podium. They would have shut the DVD off long before that time.

    After prayer and time for consideration we decided that I was the one who could present the real passion to this topic since I was the one who felt called to do the research and the one who wrote the script. If a man would not listen to the arguments from a woman, then he is not likely to be reached anyway. The ones that I can reach are those who have an open heart to listen to both sides.

    You also made this suggestion:

    A contents on the cover to make it easier to know which passages are dealt with and which DVD they are on would make it easier to find things for future study.

    Yes, this would have been helpful. The concern that our ministry partner hard, though, was that some would just turn to the passage that they were interested in without seeing the passages in order. She has written several movie scripts that were produced through Jeremiah Films, and she is good at knowing what “flows”. She took my script and put it into an order that she said was best for a “flow” and she wanted people follow the flow from one section to another. But I do agree that it would have been more helpful to some to label them as to what topics were on each disk.

    Overall excellent and thank you.

    I am honored by your review.

  97. 81
    Alison,

    It does appear that some who use the h-bomb get some kind of satisfaction out of it or something. I always thought it was strange. Are they okay? Do they like to hurt others? Are they serious? Are they jumping on the wagon because they are followers? Are they hateful? Someone else does it so they must? (lol) I see the majority of it like this – “These are God’s rules, you need to to obey the Law and if you don’t you’re a heretic.” In other words, people trying to work their way to God and forcing others to also. It’s all just some form of religion without life. People are definatley fallen.

    And I hear the frustration part. I went through it for a while…

  98. Mark, I appreciate the fact that you have not had the time to answer all questions. There have been a lot of us asking them and only you to answer them. I did however note a pattern in the ones being answered and the ones that were not. Even with your response in regard to what Grudem said, I realise that “beginning” and “source” are not synonyms. I never stated that they were, nor did I suggest that Grudem had mentioned “beginning”. “Origin” and “Source” however are synonyms, and this is what I stated. Grudem admits at one point in his research that “origin” is a valid meaning but then removes it from the final findings. Why? Because it would prove him wrong. In other words he is not consistent within his own work. But once again, the main point, the issue at hand, has been deflected and remains without a response. Sorry, but that is how it feels.

    Yes, I am set in my position, but that is because I see it as the truth. If facts could be introduced to show me that I am wrong I would change. One does not hold my position in the PCA easily. It has resulted in ‘my’ little church being kicked to the curb a number of times in a number of ways. This hurts, but I still prefer the truth, as does others in my church. I credit this blog in helping me to survive within my denomination!

    Mark, I do consider you a brother in Christ, and worthy of the truth in love. Blogs are not good at conveying love (or sometimes even truth!), so I want you to know that although I am frustrated by your method of debate, you would always be welcome to drop in at church or on our blog, and you have a place in my heart! I will keep praying for you, and ask you to continue to do the same for me!

    Amen to your last paragraph!

    Dave

  99. Mark,
    I’d like to thank you for contributing so much to this discussion. I can relate to many of your comments and questions (being a fellow Aussi may help!) and it was very helpful to see what responses there were to your challenges. When reading a book on a subject, you often only get the one point of view and can come away thinking that a certain position is clear and easy, and you would be a liberal, or silly if you don’t agree. You have helped me to see both sides more clearly and what is at the heart of the debate. I will be sorry to see you leave the discussion.
    Your closing sentiments :
    “I look forward to worshipping Him with you all in the new heavens and earth, where perfection reigns, sin is no more, and where the glory of God gives light for the day.
    God bless!”
    thrilled my heart and I likewise return them to you.

  100. Mark,

    You said:

    First, i have said nothing attackingly or aggresively over the kephale discussion.

    Mate, you have definitely overstated your case. While I am sure that you don’t think that you were attacking or aggressive, you were. May I remind you that you labeled me as a self-righteous Pharisee and the judgment and pressure that you put on Suzanne actually made me see red and honestly I rarely see red. I asked you to apologize both times and you did not. What you said both times was inappropriate and if you think it was not, well, I can only say that there may be a few issues that need to be dealt with in your life towards those who you call brethren in Christ. While you may not have meant it the way it came out, knowing that you were offensive should have prompted an apology and an opportunity to ask for forgiveness. All that you should have needed was to know that you offended your sisters in Christ whether you understood the offense of not.

    Now I am quite surprised that you have decided to bow out. It seemed to me that awhile back you said you would stay in the discussion no matter how hot it got and you weren’t the kind to bail out. In fact, you have been the most persistent complementarian ever on this blog. Don’t you remember that I gave you the privilege of writing a post here and no other complementarian has had that much freedom before on this blog? It takes the work of a feisty complementarian to get us going and we would surely miss you if you no longer post. You are special. How about reconsidering, our complementarian bloke?

    Thus lies the problem in blogging- it’s hard to communicate effectively.

    It is harder since one cannot see body language and the look on one’s face, but it is doable if one works hard to add commendation once in a while to affirm the person even while you are disagreeing. We are called to a ministry of reconciliation and what better place to see this in action then in discussions on women in ministry and submission and authority in marriage? Can we have love for each other while hotly debating these issues? I believe we can and I do think that these issues can have worth as we each discuss our point of view.

    If i have come across too strong, it has not been out of hate or anger for any-please believe that!

    That is explaining yourself and that’s good. But it needs to go with an apology. Saying “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to come across in a way that hurt you” can go a long way to treat one another in a way that is required of us by the Lord Jesus. It honors Him when we speak with love, even if it is picking up the pieces to an unintended critical word.

  101. Thanks for all the interaction, Mark. I’ve learned more things about the comp position. It does seem as though through it all we’ve not really gotten anywhere agreement wise. Maybe one day you can come back and answer the questions :) God bless.

  102. Mark,
    You said:

    I do not have time for it, nor do i have an interest in it, when simple facts cannot even be agreed on.

    Mark, my friend, is it really “simple” and are there “facts” that we deny? I honestly think that you do a lot of skimming and that you don’t really read the comments here because you miss a lot. Dave brought out the difference between what he actually said and what you quoted him saying. I do not think that you mean to do this. I just think that you have an opinion that is so set in stone that you can’t really pay close enough attention to the opinions of others. I am of the strong opinion that if what one believes is truth, it does not hurt to actually understand the opposition first in order to respond. I believe that if one takes the opposing person’s position and works hard to understand, then one can either know how best to correct the other person in love or one’s own eyes may well be opened. But if one can’t really hear what the opposition is saying, one is in a difficult place to do any good. Remember that all of us have our eyes blinded to something. If we are willing to hear both sides with an open heart, I believe that God can help us in areas where we may be wrong and don’t even know it.

    It would sure be nice if you stuck around. There is no one who has brought so much heat, yet who has been so loved as a brother as you are. You are honestly special. How could you even think of leaving this special group of brothers and sisters in Christ?

    Also I resent my answers to you on that private matter that we have been discussing and I still haven’t heard back from you whether you got the resent emails of not. **Mark** are you going to leave me hanging on that one too? **Sniff**

  103. Mark,
    Last set of comments:

    I’m bowing out…iv’e enjoyed the dialogue but must insist as a brother in Christ that you look at your own motives, look at the scriptures, look at the facts. I’ll pray for you all, and i hope you do the same for me.

    That would be great if you would pray for all of us.

    And to everyone here, I would ask that you put Mark on your prayer list. God did not bring him here for nothing. I believe that God can help Mark in areas that Mark isn’t even aware that he needs help. I believe in prayer. Let’s take Mark up on this one and pray for him and his family. Pray in whatever way that God lays on your heart.

    the glory of Christ is at stake here.

    It isn’t just the glory of Christ, but the consistency of His word and the call to unity in the body of Christ. All are very important matters.

    A challenge for us all, should be to keep Christ and His glory as THE foundation of all these discussions, any thing less is dishonourable.

    That is why I asked you to apologize my friend. It is for the glory of the Lord by respecting His body as you respect yourself.

    But that said, i am convinced that you all have a commitment to scripture and a commitment to Jesus our Lord.

    Yeah! Wonderful! Thanks Mark for saying this!

    I look forward to worshipping Him with you all in the new heavens and earth, where perfection reigns, sin is no more, and where the glory of God gives light for the day.

    AMEN!

  104. Mark, you definitely accused me of “rejecting the meaning of biblical words.” Those were your exact words. Disagreeing with you on the meaning of a word in the Bible is a very different thing from “rejecting the meaning of biblical words.” To “reject” is a moral stance that I did not at all appreciate being accused of taking towards the Bible.
    Yes, an apology would have been nice. However, since you say you meant no attack, I will choose not to take it as one. Be well.

  105. I will be going back through some of the comments and responding as I have time. I am also working on a new post so I want to get it up as soon as I can.

    Mark said in comment #5 to Kay:

    So why are we warned about not lording it over- this would seem irrelevant if authority was not an expectation for church leaders. We are warned because of the corrupting nature of authority, not to show it doesn’t exist.

    Mark’s point seems to be that the warning to not be “lording it over” others proves that taking authority over others was an expectation for church leaders. If this was the case, one would expect that Jesus would have told the disciples how to take authority without lording it over others. But He didn’t do that. He gave a totally different expectation. The expectation was that the one who wants to be great would be a servant. The expectation then is stated as servanthood not authority over others. If one wants to transfer authority into Jesus’ statement about being a servant, Jesus’ point would seem to be lost. After all a servant would be one who had no authority at all.

  106. Mara, #10 said:

    And it is our culture, not God, that demands someone be the leader in a marriage. It is our culture that looks at two people, not a group, just two people, and determines… one MUST be the leader and the other the follower, there can be no partnership.

    I am so amazed at this mindset. I don’t understand how one can take the symbiotic nature of the body and replace it with a leader and follower metaphor. How many body parts are supposed to be the bosses and how many body parts are the followers? It seems to me to be clearly changing metaphors and it just doesn’t fit.

  107. Kristen, you said to Mark:

    Yes, I argue that the New Testament is silent about men having authority over women based on their gender alone. It seems to me that silence is a very good argument here. If you want to add male authority to the mix, you are doing so in spite of the silence of the Bible on this issue.

    Your point is well taken. In this instance silence is important. If we can add “authority” into passages that are silent about the authority, then we could be tempted to add into the passage anything we want. That would not be safe. Authority is not something that can be assumed. It must be given and if God doesn’t give it (i.e. He is silent) then it is a highly important silence.

  108. Cheryl@105,
    You said
    “Mark’s point seems to be that the warning to not be “lording it over” others proves that taking authority over others was an expectation for church leaders.”
    Can it be “having authority” rather than “taking authority”?
    You then said
    “If this was the case, one would expect that Jesus would have told the disciples how to take authority without lording it over others.”
    Could it be that he tells them how to exercise authority by saying that it needs to be in totally the opposite way to what the world does- through “humble, sacrificial, loving service”- and not “lording it over”.
    He is either saying “there is no authority” or He is saying “there is authority, but it is exercised through servanthood.” Do authority and servanthood need to be opposites in the kingdom of God? They are in the world, but God’s Kingdom is not of this world.

  109. You said:

    Can it be “having authority” rather than “taking authority”?

    I think it has to be more than “having” authority. We could substitute “exercising authority” rather than “taking authority” but merely “having” an authority without the use of such an authority is quite meaningless.

    Could it be that he tells them how to exercise authority by saying that it needs to be in totally the opposite way to what the world does- through “humble, sacrificial, loving service”- and not “lording it over”.
    He is either saying “there is no authority” or He is saying “there is authority, but it is exercised through servanthood.” Do authority and servanthood need to be opposites in the kingdom of God? They are in the world, but God’s Kingdom is not of this world.

    That is a great question, Craig!

    First of all, I think that we can agree that the simple meaning of what Jesus said can be that the disciples were not to take authority over the others but instead act as servants. The question that you are asking is whether Jesus’ admonish to be a servant could possibly mean that they were to take authority or exercise authority with a humble attitude. I don’t see how we could fit the two together.

    Let’s look at Jesus’ example of being a servant to the disciples. He put on a servant’s attire with a towel and took a bowl and stooped down to wash their feet. How would one exercise authority in such a position? Did Jesus exercise authority when he was acting as a servant washing their feet? I don’t see any evidence of His exercising authority. Jesus did not lovingly force the disciples to accept His foot-washing. He did not authoritatively command them to come to Him. No, instead he stooped down to come to them and to serve them. The place of exercising authority just does not work on one’s knees. This is the place of humble servanthood and just as in the world, so in the church – a servant has no authority over the one that he serves.

    If this is not true, then I would like to see how someone can show how authority is exercised as a humble servant in his act of service. Thoughts?

  110. To all,

    Re apologies…I’m not sure how this works. Of course i am sorry that people were offended, however i am not sorry for what i wrote, because it was not written maliciously or anything like that. I am thoroughly convinced after all our discussions, that there are cultural issues between us. When i say something you get offended, when that was not my intent. Anyway, i am sorry for any offense caused.

    Kristen, i stand by what i said. As i see it, i cannot see what you define kephale as. It’s obviously not what i believe it to mean. Suzanne has shown her dislike for source and she is egalitarian, and a very good scholar. So thus, i don’t see how you are giving the proper meaning to kephale.

    Cheryl,
    I don’t see the benefit of me sticking around. Dave rightly pointed out that we are just going around in circles. We have discussed all passages i think aswell as many other things. I say one thing, you disagree…you say one thing, i disagree.
    I never did recieve your email either…must be my hotmail.

  111. Cheryl,
    you said @109
    “I think it has to be more than “having” authority. We could substitute “exercising authority” rather than “taking authority” but merely “having” an authority without the use of such an authority is quite meaningless.”
    “Exercise authority” sounds fine. I may be wrong but “taking authority” may have some negative connotations that aren’t necessary to the point being made.
    You said “I would like to see how someone can show how authority is exercised as a humble servant in his act of service. Thoughts?”
    I remember that some don’t believe that parents have authority over children. My understanding at present is that they do. What do you think? A parent can exercise authority humbly, for the good of the child, and at great sacrificial cost to the parent.

  112. ” The way i see it, it doesn’t appear you are looking either for the truth…you seem very set in your position.”

    This is strange to say since most of us are former comps who spent years studying this issue. As a woman I wanted to make sure I was following the Word. We have no authority to gain or lose by the egal position because it is mutual within the Body of Christ and marriage. We are to make others more important than ourselves. I think many comps miss that about egal. And we know the comp position makes the male more important by virtue of definining his position as authoritative.

  113. “I remember that some don’t believe that parents have authority over children. My understanding at present is that they do. What do you think? A parent can exercise authority humbly, for the good of the child, and at great sacrificial cost to the parent.”

    Just for the record, as an egal I most definitely believe a parent has authority over children. It is just that an adult woman is not a child and her husband is not her parent. That is the difference. If one thinks the husband has authority over the wife, that is making her a perpetual child and the husband her ‘daddy’. It can get quite sick. I saw the fruit of this thinking for years in comp circles.

  114. “So why are we warned about not lording it over- this would seem irrelevant if authority was not an expectation for church leaders. We are warned because of the corrupting nature of authority, not to show it doesn’t exist.”

    Mark,
    I find it rather odd that you read Jesus words this way.

    “But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

    Note that it is BOTH lording over and exercising authority over that Jesus says IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU. INSTEAD we are to take the position of a servant and a slave, serving God’s people as God leads. Jesus said He did not come to be served. This applies to us also. We should not think that anything that we do as God’s servant (we are ALL to be God’s servants) should end up that we are served as we desire. We are to serve the people of God as they need regardless of what our calling is, but especially if we have callings of leading ministries.

    It would be beneficial if we could sort through this when you next have some time.

    Happy Father’s Day, in the meantime. :)

  115. “A parent can exercise authority humbly, for the good of the child, and at great sacrificial cost to the parent.”

    Craig,
    Yes, a parent must exercise authority for a child until the child is able to make responsible decisions for themselves. That is the whole point about being a parent, training a child in righteous ways of behavior. That is the purpose of our authority over them.

  116. Mark,
    Can you provide me with another email address so I can get the answers to your personal challenges sent to you. Or should I assume that you don’t care to hear answers on the other subject (outside of women in ministry)?

    So you are not sorry for what you said? For one thing, I don’t think that calling a person a self righteous Pharisee is a cultural issue. I would think that it is rude in any culture to judge one’s heart and to use an example of Jesus’ judgment to say that the other person is like that judged person. If you don’t think so, then I would think that it is a problem not of culture, but of your own value system.

    Secondly I think that it is a great value for you to be here. Quite a few of us have voiced that. In other words it is a value for us although you may not see it as a value to you. You said:

    I say one thing, you disagree…you say one thing, i disagree.

    When we disagree we tell you why we disagree so you have the opportunity to show us where our objections should not be valid objections. But it seems to me that you don’t really care about trying to persuade us of anything but that you may be using the discussion to try to keep yourself in the complementarian mindset. Why do I say that? Because for the most part you have not argued for our benefit as if you really cared but the argument has been given in a way that shows disdain for our position. Thus you are unwilling to stay here for our benefit since it appears that your own benefit is what is important to you. This is the very thing that Jesus talked about when He told us to submit to one another.

    What we do in the body is supposed to be for the other person’s benefit and we should care enough about them to lay aside our own welfare to serve them. Yet you have made it clear that you do not submit to anyone who does not have authority over you. You won’t submit to anyone here and you won’t submit to 99.99% of people in the body of Christ because your position is that you are only required to submit to those in authority over you. Is it possible for you to catch a glimpse of the attitude that we see coming through? If you are constantly only interested in what will benefit you and you will not lay aside what benefits you to benefit others, then how can you convince anyone that your complementarian lifestyle is anything at all that is Christlike?

    Craig, for example, has admitted that his own marriage with him not “exercising authority” over his wife would be no different if he were to become an egalitarian and live out his marriage as an egalitarian. I believe him. The attitude of caring comes through Craig and he has apologized for things that others have misunderstood from his position. He went above and beyond what was expected to make sure that he would say things that don’t hurt and when he said things that we misunderstood, he was quick to apologize. I, for one, can hear Craig and hear his concerns and questions, because I can hear his love for those who are not exactly like him. Also to live out the caring lifestyle for the other person and putting them ahead of our own selves as Jesus taught us to do should make the comp marriage look exactly the same as an egalitarian one. The reason is that to believe that one had the authority to pull out “a male trump card” but to set aside that authority to work together in unity and love, is just as sacrificial a lifestyle as any egalitarian marriage. But pulling out the “male trump card” is anything but unselfish.

    Think of it this way. If a husband and a wife disagree on an issue and they cannot resolve the matter and the husband takes out his “male trump card” to exercise his authority to make the final decision, what are the chances that he will use his “male trump card” to decide her way? If you are really honest with yourself, you would have to admit that the answer is zero chance. A trump card that is pulled out will always favor the male and will never sacrifice his own desires. “Soft” comps don’t need to pull out their trump cards because they genuinely believe that working out these situations for a mutual decision (and an opportunity to pray for a mutual decision) is of far more value than overriding another person’s will. Mark, I think you may be interested in my next post which will bring out a seldom heard part of the nature of God that may be key to our understanding of relationships.

    I have to run now. Will be back as I can.

    Mark, you are cared for no matter how offensive and combative you have been. You are our brother in Christ and we care enough to tell you the truth, but in love and with respect.

  117. ” If a husband and a wife disagree on an issue and they cannot resolve the matter and the husband takes out his “male trump card” to exercise his authority to make the final decision, what are the chances that he will use his “male trump card” to decide her way? If you are really honest with yourself, you would have to admit that the answer is zero chance. A trump card that is pulled out will always favor the male and will never sacrifice his own desires.”

    EXCELLENT observation. If the husband chooses to yield to his wife’s view or make a compromise there is no need to exercise authority over and call the shots. It is only when the man chooses to not discuss further or pray until they are in agreement, that he takes things into his own hands.

  118. Mark,
    Apology accepted!
    “A challenge for us all, should be to keep Christ and His glory as THE foundation of all these discussions, any thing less is dishonourable.”
    I agree completely! That’s the main reason I believe we must treat one another with brotherly love – I have been praying for you and am more than willing to continue discussing. Mark, if I’m in error, I sincerely do want to know. If you choose to continue, I do think it would be much more beneficial if you would “direct quote” others, instead of the misquote rephrasing – as Kristin and Dave gave examples. Blessings to you.

  119. “Suzanne has shown her dislike for source and she is egalitarian, and a very good scholar. So thus, i don’t see how you are giving the proper meaning to kephale.”

    Mark,

    I did find the mention of arche as meaning both beginning and origin to be quite presuasive. I don’t have all the answers. I do feel that any exegesis which prevents a Christian from treating other Christians as they would be treated, to be offensive.

    So, I have to express my doubts and state where my own research is unclear. But I also have to say that I simply cannot condone the subordination of women as anything other than barbarism. I do know that Bruce Ware asks men to use a “firm hand” with a “warm smile.” But I can honestly say that I am sickened by hia mention of the “firm hand.”

    Coercion, belittlement, or force, either phyisical or spiritual, have no place in a marriage relationship. If this was not a common experience among Christian women, our blogging community would not be what it is.

    I wish you well.

  120. In regard to parents having authority over children, I do not want to disagree with others, but I must confess I do not see myself having authority over my children. I do see two things at work though.

    1 – My children have been entrusted to me for a short time. During this time I have responsibility in preparing them to be fully functioning adults when the time comes.

    2 – Discipline is key to both preparing my children to becomes fully functioning adults, and to them knowing they are loved by me. I therefore submit to my kids by disciplining them. An undisciplined child is often very insecure.

    If someone can point me to scripture that speaks about my authority over my children I would be happy to consider it (being not completely set in my position!).

  121. Does anyone else see similarities between Philippians 2:3-5 and Ephesians 5:21?

  122. “In regard to parents having authority over children, I do not want to disagree with others, but I must confess I do not see myself having authority over my children. I do see two things at work though.

    Dave, 120

    Your two things are very well said and acceptable. Scripture does not say specifically that parents are in authority over their children, I don’t think. And the implication of what is said is along the lines of reasoning that you put forth. Thus, I concede that it is better to use the wording of Scripture preferably.

  123. Mark, when you said (I will refer to this as “quote 1”):
    “Kristen, i stand by what i said. As i see it, i cannot see what you define kephale as. It’s obviously not what i believe it to mean. Suzanne has shown her dislike for source and she is egalitarian, and a very good scholar. So thus, i don’t see how you are giving the proper meaning to kephale.”
    — You just said something entirely different than when you said (I will refer to this as “quote 2”):
    “you are rejecting the meaning of biblical words.”
    In quote 1, you have stated that we don’t see eye to eye. You don’t see my definition of kephale. It is not what you believe it to mean. In other words, you disagree with me.
    In quote 2, this is not what you said. What you said was that there was a “meaning” of “biblical words” that I had “rejected.” In effect, you were saying what YOU had decided the meaning of the words was, WAS the meaning of those words– authoritatively and without dispute– and that I was “rejecting” that meaning, and thus, the authority of those biblical words.
    Do you see the difference? “We disagree,” or even “I think you’re wrong” is one thing. Or (which is less polite but still not going as far as you actually went) you could have just said, “You’re wrong.” I would have bristled a little at that being worded in such an in-your-face manner, but at least it would not have been a judgment of my character and motivations.
    But what you said was “You are REJECTING the meaning of BIBLICAL words.” Whether or not you meant to say that you believed I was in rebellion against the true meaning of the Bible– that is what I heard you say.
    If I were to tread very hard on someone’s toes– even if it were an accident and unintentional– I would apologize. You just treaded very hard on my spiritual toes. It hurts to have someone tell you, whether they mean it or not, that you are rejecting the meaning of the Bible.
    I will grant that this may not have been what you intended to say– but communication is a two-way street. It is just as much your responsibility to word things the way you mean them, as it is my responsibility to do my best to deciper your meaning.
    The plain sense of your words was “you are rejecting the true meaning of the Bible.” I took those words to mean what they actually said.
    So– now when you say, “I still stand by what I said,” you are NOT standing by “you are rejecting the true meaning of the Bible.” You are standing by, “I think you’re wrong.” I don’t mind a bit that you think I’m wrong. :) What I minded was being told I rejected the Bible.
    Does that make things clearer?

  124. hey, this is from secular site but I think, many here need to read it,

    why Men confuse love with abuse, from a Man confronting Men

    http://www.womensspace.org/phpBB2/2008/11/27/abusive-men-and-the-way-they-confuse-love-and-abuse/

    what he has to say is spot on, it’s kind of sad that the World gets it, the Church, doesn’t.

    Jane

  125. Dave,

    I think that what others see as “authority” would be the “parent trump card”. It is the thing that gives you the right and the power to makes decisions that may override our children’s will. If your children want to do something that you do not want them to do, you can negotiate with them and work towards an agreement, but in the end if you still disagree, you can take out your “parent trump card” and overrule their will. The thing about the “parent trump card” is that it has an expiry date. This is where your point #1 comes in:

    1 – My children have been entrusted to me for a short time. During this time I have responsibility in preparing them to be fully functioning adults when the time comes.

    The responsibility that you have been entrusted with is to provide guidance for your children so that when you ease out of the use of the “parent trump card” and eventually they are on their own, they will be fully functioning adults with their own ability to choose what is right and wrong. At that time your will and your good advice will no longer trump their will as it is God’s will for them to be mature and to make their own decisions eventually.

    The other thing that can be seen as an “authority” is the fact that you are given the responsibility to discipline your children. This would be the “parent discipline card” that is given you for a short period of time while they are growing up. Eventually it is God’s will that you no longer have this card as they are expected to be mature and to be disciplined.

    Now it is interesting that neither of these forms of “authority” is given to the husband to be used with his wife. He does not have God’s permission to “discipline her” as if he is her parent. It is also not his responsibility to grow her up to be a fully functioning adult. Her discipline is in the hands of our common Heavenly Father and the growing up process is carried on by our Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

    If the husband were to do these things to his own wife, he would be taking a “trump card” that has not been given to him. It would be replacing the work of the Holy Spirit in her life with his own wisdom and his own source of discipline. It is a usurping of what belongs to God alone.

  126. Kristen,
    Thank you for taking the time to communicate with Mark exactly what he did that was offensive and how he could have changed the offense into a simple disagreement. I believe that taking this time for a brother in Christ shows that you are respectful and caring and that you are seeking to have a mutual understanding. I too thought that Mark overstepped the line. I also believe that Mark is young enough to learn good communication so that he can properly represent Christ to the world and in love, to the members of the church.

  127. Craig @111
    You said:

    “Exercise authority” sounds fine. I may be wrong but “taking authority” may have some negative connotations that aren’t necessary to the point being made.

    My apologies. I am so used to saying “taking authority” because I have asked many times where authority is given by God to the husband and neither Mark nor any other comp has show the giving of this authority in Scripture so my use of “taking” corresponds to exercising authority that has not been specifically given. I could well have just said “exercising authority”.

    You said “I would like to see how someone can show how authority is exercised as a humble servant in his act of service. Thoughts?”
    I remember that some don’t believe that parents have authority over children. My understanding at present is that they do. What do you think? A parent can exercise authority humbly, for the good of the child, and at great sacrificial cost to the parent.

    I can grant this to you. While authority is not something that is specifically given to a parent, the parents are specifically given a responsibility over a child to temporarily look after a child, make decisions for the child until the child is mature enough to make their own decisions and to discipline a child during the years that he/she is coming to maturity. However is that what Jesus is talking about?

    I do not believe that Jesus was specifically talking about parental “authority” when He said that it is not to be so “among you”.

    Matthew 20:25–26 (NAS)
    25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.
    26 “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,

    Here Jesus is talking about greatness in the body of Christ and among peers. Is Jesus saying that there is already an authority of one over another? No. With Jesus in their midst, no disciple had an authority over the other. Jesus said that it is (right now) not this way among His disciples and in the future whoever wishes to become great (the meaning is to be superior in importance) should strive to become great through being a servant to all.

    Mark 10:44 (NAS)
    44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.

    This was such an important matter that three of gospels quote Jesus’ words about the conduct of those who want to be great in the body of Christ. Instead of teaching them how to “exercise authority”, Jesus taught them that they had to become “like” the youngest…

    Luke 22:26 (NAS)
    26 “But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.

    …and they should be be last of all.

    Mark 9:35 (NAS)
    35 Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

    “Like the youngest” and “last of all” are not terms of “exercising authority”. They are terms of humility and love to view one’s importance in the privilege of being a slave to lift up and help the others because of the great value of the rest of the body.

  128. Just an observation. This is a difficult forum to hold a “tight” conversation. I agree with Dave that Mark and other comps tend to opportunistically pick and choose which questions and points to respond to. Who could blame them! With the deluge of comments from the egal massesm we actually support this approach from them – nobody could respond to absolutely everything unless they were dedicating a majority of their time to the task. Even Cheryl, who naturally gives more time to this blog than anybody else, can’t get to every post. So I certainly don’t blame Mark for carefully choosing his battles.

    I say this not to encourage or suggest any change. Just be aware that with such a popular blog, things are going to, at times, get frustrating with so many people “talking” at once.

  129. Thank you for all your comments. There is a lot for me to digest.
    I have had a very busy day and hope to have a bit more time to comment in a couple of days, but just for now, may I ask these questions to help me understand your thoughts:
    1. Is there any form of legitimate authority of one human being over another(apart from possibly parent/child temporarily)?
    2. Would anyone be able to define authority please? and
    3. How does leadership differ from authority?
    My apologies if these questions have been asked and discussed before. A link to any of these posts or discussions would be fine. Thanks.

  130. 1. I am going to assume by “legitimate” you mean biblical or God ordained. The answer is “yes”, government is God ordained with the “authority” to punish wrong doers and reward those who do right (see Romans 13:1-7).

    There is also a certain amount of authority the church has to punish those in its midst (see 1 Cor 5 for example). And I believe, as we have been discussing in Eph 1-2, that we will sit with Christ in authority over the world.

    But regarding person to person, especially in the Body of Christ, no, I don’t believe it can be demonstrated that there is any legitimate authority structure ordained by God.

  131. 2. That is kind of tough. I would say it is the power to cause your desire to occur. It may be overt – you may have the power to punish and reqard to bring about your desired result. Or it may be subtle – you may be able to bring about your desired result just by virtue of your “position”, “title”, or “role”. And it may even be unsolicited – people may give in to your desired result simply because they view you as wise and “good”. In any case, you have “authority” over others.

    Now, we have discussed authority in a number of aspects. We have talked about “having” authority, “granting” authority, “holding” authority, and a number of other such ideas. But the bottom line is that the authority itself, regardless of how it came about, is a form of power over others.

  132. 3. An excellent question if, for no other reason, it relates to the comp position and the debate in general. Can one be a leader without having or exercising authority? Can one have authority without being considered a leader? I think the answer to both is a qualified “yes”.

    I think leadership is more about getting people to follow a plan than it is about getting your way. I think of Lincoln, who was a great leader but who often compromised and even changed position based on debate and counsel. Lincoln also had the authority to carry out action on his decisions. But it wasn’t that authority that made him a great leader. Even when he lost political races (or court cases) and had basically no authority at all, he was still viewed by almost everyone who knew him well, including his opponents, as being a great leader.

    History is also jammed full of examples of people who had great amounts of authority but were horrible leaders. Again, the terms do not go hand in hand.

    Marriage is a unique institution. I truly believe that men have an inate desire to be leaders. I think it is in our genes. Where we get in trouble is when we are told that we are in authority. Authority is about overt power and it is corrupting. Instead of leading, we command. Instead of leading, we punish. Instead of leading, we demand obedience. This is abusive, yet it feels strangley right to us. That is because of the influence sin has over us. Adam was probably, potentially, a great leader. But sin made him a ruler, which is an entirely different and evil thing.

    Women are gifted with many leadership skills as well. When we join our wives in “one flesh” leadership, we are far stronger than the two of us could be apart. There is no need for authority (between the two partners).

    That is the paradox that the world does not understand. The world can not envision strength and power outside of a hierarchy. But the original design for marriage was one where strength and power were to be greatly multiplied through the one-flesh relationship, yet in a hierarchical vacuum. That is mind blowing to the world, and especially to men who feel comfortable in hierachies. It truly seems a contradiction – die to self (give up authority) in order to lead together. Even typing it, there is something within me that rebels against the idea. My inner Adam says “you were made to rule”. But my spirit cries back “it is not good for you to be alone (an authoritarian hierarchy is inherently lonely) – God has made an ezer neged (strong help facing you) to complete you and join you in leadership”. This battle rages all the time within me but I am not blind to God’s truth. I know the Spirit is right. The choice, then, is up to me. Do I rule by myself, or do I and my wife lead together.

  133. Great questions Craig. And excellent answers Gengwall.

    Ultimately I think leadership is about having somewhere to guide people toward. This can be positive because we are godly people, or negative when the leaders are wicked people. And unfortunately there are people who lead nowhere but to themselves. That is charisma with no meat.

    As humans we are leaders to all the creatures of the earth. This type of leadership involves protection and direction. As Christians we are to take what we learn of God and share it with those who need to learn. We fill the Greek meaning of standing before and stepping before. We direct others toward God. That is the leadership that is Biblical.

    I suspect the definitions get blurred when the strong help the weaker. It feels like leadership. I wouldn’t say that it actually is though. But strength should always be used to assist those who lack it. Then we have the worldly view that the stronger should rule over the weaker. Mix that in and men who are generally stronger than women think that men should always rule over the weaker women. But women know better and are not assisted by such. Yet women still can be assisted and desire to be assisted by the strengths of men. Perhaps, the problem is then not recognizing that women have qualities, insights, ways of doing and viewing life that men need assistance with from women. Strength and physical power are not really the most important aspects of life nor the important aspects of leadership.

    We must go back to the qualities of leadership being directing, pointing, assisting people toward doing what is wisdom, righteous and godly. Anyone can be used of God to do that.

  134. Craig,
    Some more food for thought – In English Bible translations, “follow,” “imitate” or “follow my example” comes from the Greek “mimetai” or “mimetes” which means “to mimic” or “imitate” or an “imitator”. : “Be followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1Cor 11:1). “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” (1Cor 4:16). “Brethren, be followers together of me,…” (Phil 3:17). “And ye became followers of us and of the Lord,…” (1Thes. 1:6). “For yourselves know how you ought to follow us:…. but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us” (2Thes 3:7,9).

    Paul did not want anyone to “follow *him*”. In every case where Bible translations tell us to “follow” Paul, the Greek meaning is, “Follow my example or imitate me as I follow Christ’s example and imitate Him.”

    Let’s say you and I have been good friends for years and one day you read in the Bible that you are to keep the Sabbath day holy. The next time you see me, you show that to me. If I am convinced and do likewise, I will follow your example or imitate you. That does not mean that I am “following” you or “going after” you.

    That’s what Paul was saying when he said, “Imitate me, even as I also imitate Christ” (1Cor 11:1). Paul did not once tell anyone to get behind him as he went about his agenda. He asked people to imitate the ‘good examples’ of himself and others.

    Other verses on “follow” when it means “to imitate”, are: Ephesians 5:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; Hebrews 6:12; 13:7; 1 Peter 3:13; and 3 John 11.

    I am also one who has commented here about parental responsibility. Dave’s comment is a close summary of my belief on that as well. I’ll not rehash, except to reiterate that adult wives are not children.

    Husbands and wives both bear responsibility for caring for one another. The greatest “un-role” example of this that I know of personally, is a young friend who’s husband has been in vegatative state for a number of years now. She, as his wife, lives love responsibly – seeing that he has the best care, in the best facility she can afford.

  135. gengwall, TL, Kay, excellent input regarding Craig’s questions!

  136. Craig,
    I am going to jump in here too, to give my thoughts on your questions. Regarding #1 about legitimate authority of one human over another (other than parents and children), the only answer that I can think of is the one that gengwall gave regarding the government.

    By the way, I thought that your questions were EXCELLENT! Very well thought-out and they have caused us to reflect on what we believe.

    2. Would anyone be able to define authority please?

    Other than dealing with parent-child and government, I see Biblical authority as the right to act or to make a decision.

    I believe that God has given all of us some type of authority to act. In 1 Cor. 11:10 Paul says that women have authority to make a decision about their own head (and whether she will wear a head covering or not).

    1 Corinthians 11:10 (ISV)
    10This is why a woman should have authority over her own head: because of the angels.

    What I see from the Scriptures is an empowerment of authority to make our own mature decisions so it is an authority over ourselves. There is also an authority to use the gifts that God has given us:

    1 Peter 4:10–11 (NAS)
    10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
    11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

    The gift then that God gives us is the authority given by God to use it for the benefit of the body of Christ. In fact the only time that the gifts are ever restricted is when they would not be benefiting the body. For example speaking in tongues is held back if there is no interpretor since an unknown tongue would not benefit the body. But as a rule, the gift given has with it the right to use the gift freely for the good of the body. That is our authority and it is not an authority over someone else but an authority to take what has been given us and use it.

    I also believe that we have an authority in our own private homes to restrict evil. For example I have the authority to deny people the freedom to abuse drugs in my home. It is a God-given authority as God has given both my husband and myself the freedom and responsibility to be the rulers of our home.

    3. How does leadership differ from authority?

    If God-given authority is an authority over one’s personal decisions and one’s personal space and one’s personal gifts, leadership is different in that it doesn’t involve an authority or right to make decisions over one’s own areas of personal responsibility. Leadership involves providing a living example of the things that you teach. The example is for others to see and understand the ways of God lived out in our lives. When our own life is a living sacrifice for others so that the body of Christ can see Jesus within us, our leadership is a encouragement to follow the way of the Master by seeing the Word of God come to life in us.

    In this way, true Biblical leadership is an example set, not an authority taken. When Christian husbands live this kind of lifestyle of “leadership” how could any woman object? The self-sacrifice and Christ-like selfless example of a husband should never cause a Christian wife to reject him or his “leadership”. She too is to initiate a Christ-like example of self-sacrifice so that even if her husband were not a believer, by her godly example of living a gentle and respectful life, he will be influenced to follow her into Christianity.

    I think it is so neat that we can give our own views and examples and yet we all seem to come up with the same kind of answers.

    Unfortunately the foundation of complementarianism is set up as an “authority over” rather than an “example given”. Women bristle at a man taking authority over her as if she was meant to check her brain at the door, stay an immature Christian and let him make the decisions because of his “authority”. I believe that this kind of “leadership” is not true Biblical leadership but is veiled disguise of a the secular “lording it over” another human being. Rather than bringing out the best in us as women, a man who exercises his authority over us can unwittingly produce a dependent adult rather than a mature Christian who was meant to fulfill their place of joint heir and ruler of the world.

  137. I have a thought and maybe others can give me some feedback. So do you think that the average comp husband if he knew how his exercising unilateral authority in the home was actually keeping his wife from reaching her potential in Christ, do you think that he would stop or do you think that the lure of power would keep most going in the same comp direction?

    In our marriage, we were unaware for a long time about the damage that it was causing me. In fact I would have fought an egalitarian who would have tried to persuade me that what we were doing wasn’t Biblical. I remember a time many years ago after I had led a Bible study and support session for ex-JW’s that an ex-cult member approached me with a book about egalitarianism and she was telling me that she had learned that the husband was not the authority over the wife. I politely took the book but never read it. It seemed to me that what she was saying was tantamount to heresy.

    It wasn’t until years later when I was emotionally forced to set a boundary in order to stop my own personhood from being dissolved and destroyed, that we actually studied this issue and came to understand that what we had long accepted as Biblical was actually a veiled form of abuse and was well on its way to destroying me as a person. When we both came to understand that and saw from the Scripture how we were both given authority and we were equal heirs in Christ, my husband booted the comp model of marriage with my approval and we never looked back.

    The freedom that I now have to be myself and not the image that he wants me to be or even a clone of him, yet I am still able to work with him in unity, was so refreshing that I saw the freedom of Christ in it and it became very precious to me to the point that I wanted to be a change agent to help others who were also stuck in a world model that they believed to be the Christian model. When the blinders of deception have been pulled back from our eyes, we could never go back into that restrictive lifestyle. What I didn’t realize for a long time is that my husband was as deeply harmed by the comp lifestyle as I was. He was forced by tradition into a mold that was also hurting him because it forced him to have responsibility for things that were not his responsibility.

  138. Cheryl said:
    “In this way, true Biblical leadership is an example set, not an authority taken. When Christian husbands live this kind of lifestyle of “leadership” how could any woman object? The self-sacrifice and Christ-like selfless example of a husband should never cause a Christian wife to reject him or his “leadership”. She too is to initiate a Christ-like example of self-sacrifice so that even if her husband were not a believer, by her godly example of living a gentle and respectful life, he will be influenced to follow her into Christianity.”
    I agree, but would emphasize that this kind of leadership-by-example, in a mutualist marriage, moves dynamically between husband and wife. He is not the only one who gets to lead by example. In a mutualist marriage, first one partner and then the other may take the lead in a given situation, depending on personal strengths and many other factors. If the husband is feeling sick or tired, he can relax and let his wife decide the best course to take with a dispute between the children. If she’s better than him at something, she can take the lead in seeing it gets done– and vice versa. Neither one feels their masculinity or femininity threatened if the other steps outside a role. Each defers to the other’s areas of expertise.
    My husband lets me lead in the area of finances; I’m better at it. When we’re travelling somewhere, he’s definitely the one in charge, because I get lost easily and tire quickly when driving. When it comes to parental discipline, we take turns. There’s no one right way to do a marriage. While complementarianism can still let individual marriages have their own dynamics, I would say this is easier in a mutualist/egalitarian marriage, where there is no set pattern for what it has to look like.
    As an egalitarian, I have no problem with a marriage which looks more traditional than mine, because the husband is a natural leader and the wife likes him to be. But complementarians say all marriages are supposed to look like that. Neither I nor my husband was happy that way.

  139. Kristen,
    Yes, it is reciprocal in marriage and either can lift the other one up just as either one can lead in their gifts or lead in doing the right thing.

  140. My new post is up http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2010/06/21/the-humble-god/ and it is on God’s view of submission and authority.

  141. Cheryl @ 137 – I think your own experience is the best answer to your question. The patriarchal authority paradigm is almost like brain washing. I have known many women who were prefectly content living in their male dominated world and perfectly confident that it was best for them. It is almost like the movie “The Matrix” – you have to have a rude awakening or you won’t even be aware you are having the life sucked out of you. I believe many feminists experienced the same frustration waiting for women in general to wake out of their 50’s “Father Knows Best” slumber. Unfortunately for secular feminism, just being equal in a Christian egalitarian marriage is not enough. But that is a whole other topic.

  142. If I try and summarize some key points from what you have all said:
    AUTHORITY over others is about commanding, demanding obedience, punishing wrong, rewarding right, able to use the final “trump card”.
    LEADERSHIP is about guiding, directing, pointing, protecting, assisting, giving encouragement and example to follow what is taught. (I will also add sacrificial love for christian leadership.)
    In my fairly sheltered “soft comp” church experience, I think these two terms have not been so starkly contrasted. I may be wrong, but I think that if I asked many of my comp friends what it means to exercise authority in their marriage and in church they would talk more in terms of the words for leadership above. They would shrink back from the words used above for authority.
    Is this unusual? Do most comps or CBMW really teach the kind of authority I have summarized above (I have only read one chapter so far of the 1991 book “Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood)? Would Mark really believe in this kind of authority? How much of the debate is a definition problem? Would more Comps agree with Egals when they argue against authority if they had the same definitions?
    What is the bible evidence for these distinctions in definition? (I know some has been given but any more would be appreciated)
    Thanks again.

  143. Craig,
    It would be quite considerate if Mark would give his definitions of the differences between authority and leadership. If any other comp is willing to give a try, I think that would be helpful.

    Another way to look at the issue of authority and leadership is that women are told that they cannot have authority over men. Is there things on the leadership list that would be forbidden? Would it be unbiblical for a woman to use her gifts for:
    guiding, directing, pointing, protecting, assisting, giving encouragement and example to follow what is taught?

    I would think that most soft comps would not be offended by a woman doing these things, but they would be offended if a woman practiced the things listed in the authority list. But perhaps we should be saying that it is offensive for any Christian to practice what is on the authority list other than perhaps rewarding what is right (which could be considered encouragement). The church has been far too focused on who is in authority, thus taking on a view of the church as a corporation rather than a body. We have allowed the world to influence us in this way and we have ignored Jesus’ warning about striving to be in the position of prominence.

  144. The problem I have with the comp position is not that the husband gets to be leader; it’s that he always is supposed to be leader and the wife is supposed to never take the lead. I simply see no support for this in the Scriptures. As for authority, I don’t care how kind or benevolent it is– I don’t care how few of those things Craig listed, the husband actually uses. It’s the fact that he is supposed to have the right to use them (even if in Christian charity he never does), that’s the problem– a “right” to rule that is according to the flesh and not the Spirit. This is of the world and not of Christ.

  145. I agree Kristen. As we have been discussing, leadership is not inherently a bad thing and we should expect our spouse to “lead” in areas of our life that they are gifted or experienced to lead. The idea that the male should lead in all things and that the wife should never lead her husband not only defies the gifting of the Spirit and puts an impossible burden on the husband, but is just plain dumb because it is not the best plan for success of the marriage and the family.

  146. Craig #93 “The comps I know focus very much on loving, sacrificial service as the way of exercising leadership and authority.”

    If a woman exhibits loving, sacrificial service is she exercising leadership and authority?

    As a “soft comp”, Craig, would you (have) concede(d) that if your wife were exhibiting loving, sacrificial service that she was exercising leadership and authority? I am new to this doctrinal debate having not heard the comp/egal terms until a couple of years ago.

    I have read and listened to enough sermons/conferences of leading comps to know they would say “no” because men are inherently born to lead and women are born inherently to follow. So, I am trying to get to the bottom of what observable qualitative difference is there between the sexes that makes loving, sacrificial service from a female different than when practiced by a male for whom the same motivations and actions would be leadership and authority.

    I know you are searching, too, so I am just typing out loud.

  147. Craig #93 “The comps I know focus very much on loving, sacrificial service as the way of exercising leadership and authority.”

    I agree Craig that they would say that but that doesn’t make it a practical reality. In particular, loving sacrificial service is the opposite of authority (although I think, as we have been discussing, that leadership can be done in a loving and sacrificial way). The key continues to be authority. One can not be servant and master at the same time. If comps want to be master, then they are not engaged in loving sacrificial service no matter how hard they claim to be. Conversely, if one offers the kind of loving sacrificial service that Ephesians 5 calls for, then they, like Christ, have relinquished authority and taken the role of servant. It is a practical impossibility to have it both ways.

  148. Craig #93 “We have always mutually decided on things and worked together as a team. I wore the leader badge but have never had to use it. So in this aspect, I am not sure if our marriage would practically change at all if we became egal.”

    Craig, when I read, “I wore the leader badge but have never had to use it,” it sounded as if you do believe you have some degree of authority (to command obedience or compliance either by reward or punishment). I know you don’t mean a literal badge, but it sounds as if you believe(d) you inherently had some type of authority to wield should you deem it necessary.

    Craig #142 “I think that if I asked many of my comp friends what it means to exercise authority in their marriage and in church they would talk more in terms of the words for leadership above. They would shrink back from the words used above for authority.”

    You may be right about your friends. Or, would they echo your sentiment at #93? I don’t know. But, when I read comments like those at #93, read other material, and listen to sermons/conferences, it sounds like for hierarch-comps authority and leadership as you summarized go hand in hand and is reserved for males only.

    Thoughts?

  149. gengwall@145:”that the wife should never lead her husband not only defies the gifting of the Spirit and puts an impossible burden on the husband, but is just plain dumb because it is not the best plan for success of the marriage and the family.”

    Not only that, but as I have illustrated several times, it is a physical and/or mental impossibility for some husbands.
    And if it is merely the best plan, it is certainly not the only ‘unsinful’ option.

  150. sm@146: “I have read and listened to enough sermons/conferences of leading comps to know they would say “no” because men are inherently born to lead and women are born inherently to follow. So, I am trying to get to the bottom of what observable qualitative difference is there between the sexes that makes loving, sacrificial service from a female different”

    You’ll be on an endless search. We have tried to get comps to pinpoint what that difference is many times. Some have offered up “maleness” in answer and when questioned down to the logical conclusion of ‘whom with precisely which particular reproductive organs qualified’ (would a eunuch?) wasn’t able to admit that the Church has no morally acceptable means of verifying who has those “qualified parts” or “exactly which parts qualify” before they teach or preach.

  151. sm,
    It’s a funny thing – comp men are sure they have “it” but they just can’t seem to tell us what “it” is…I mean really if you have “it” shouldn’t you know what “it” is??? 😉

  152. Which is why, Kay, in the end they have to revert to “God said so” – leaving God holding the bag for their incoherant, illogical, and unsupportable conclusions about male authority.

  153. “I wore the leader badge but have never had to use it. So in this aspect, I am not sure if our marriage would practically change at all if we became egal. I am just seeking to know the truth. The question does the authority really exist if it is never exercised is a good one.”

    Craig@93,

    So, maybe the answer is really self-evident. A comp male truly living out Eph.5 will never need to use an “authority badge.” …perhaps “male authority” is like the emperor’s clothes – “it” really isn’t there…

  154. gengwall@152,
    I think one of Cheryl’s videos has a clip of a preacher making that claim…something like “That’s just the way it is” – Translated, that means, “do not question this claim!”

  155. Hi everyone,

    I’ve been following this particular conversation for a number of days now, and it’s really interesting to me. I’m not a Christian and haven’t been one in many years, although I still believe in the Christian God. I generally classify myself as Pagan and leave it at that, although in truth my personal theology is more Judeo-Christian than anything else. I have too many personal hang-ups with Christian doctrine to call myself one in good conscience…but I’m still studying, as it were.

    Anyway, one of the reasons the egalitarian vs. complimentarian debate interests me is that one of the major issues I had with the Christian faith was the seemingly Biblical and God-approved subjugation of women. I was never okay with that, and I eventually I decided that the Bible just had to be wrong on that subject, Word of God or not. Because I honestly believed the complimentarian position was the only one, and because as a woman I found it morally reprehensible, I rejected the faith entirely. (It wasn’t the only reason, but it was a deciding factor). I couldn’t believe in a God who would set things up like that and expect me to be okay with it.

    But one of the clearest messages I ever got from God was “I am not always who they say I am”, and that’s inspired me to keep an open mind and continue searching over the years. You don’t know how relieved I was to discover that the egalitarian position within Christianity exists, and that it is fully as Biblical and legitimate as the position that demands that men have authority over women. And as I’ve studied over the last week, I have become convinced that it is the more legitimate position, from a holistic perspective of Scripture and God’s character.

    As the problem of misogyny was not the only issue that put me off to Christianity, it’s not the only thing that will draw me back. But I just wanted to say that, from the perspective of someone outside the faith, I admire and appreciate all the effort that Christians like you have put into examining this issue, and trying to glean the actual truth from your Scriptures (instead of assuming that the “plain-sense” reading, in English and with no cultural context, must be the correct one).

    Thank you, all…I’ve very much enjoyed reading the arguments from both sides.

  156. Welcome Amaranth,

    Your experience is not as unique as it may feel to you. There are other women who have gone through the same experience. Some have just called themselves separated from organized churches yet still loving God.

    And there are more and more places on the internet to discuss these issues. This is one of the better Blogs, but there are others. Click on my name and you’ll find a forum where you can bring up your questions.

    Glad to know you are here and reading. :)

  157. Amaranth,
    Welcome to my blog! I am very glad that you found us and I hope that the respectful discussions will give you reason to hope again and deal with the issues that made you leave Christianity. I hope you feel welcome as there are a lot of precious people who visit this blog who really love God and see His love and freedom for women as shining through the Scriptures.

  158. Amaranth,
    As I see it, we don’t have a problem with God, but with the way some choose to interpret His Word. If everyone is addressed equally as a person in Christ, and everyone is ultimately responsible to answer to Him as an individual, then in reality there is no distinction between any of them. The only distinctions are those perceived by someone’s interpretation.
    You are definately not alone. I hope you continue to read and comment here for a long time. Godspeed on your journey!

  159. Welcome, Amaranth, and thanks so much for giving your perspective. I find it illustrative of a point that I and other egalitarians have made about the New Testament (the writings of Paul in particular). Paul advised women to be “submissive to their husbands, that the word of may not be hindered,” in Titus 2. Paul said in several places in his letters that his mission was spreading the news about Christ, and he subordinated everything to that end. “I become all things to all people, that I might by any means save some.” His words about wifely submission must be viewed under that light. Paul’s position was that the surrounding culture would be upset if wives did not show submissiveness to the cultural authority granted to husbands. Wives should submit so that the message of the gospel would not be hindered. Slaves were to submit to their masters for the same reason. Paul’s position was not a ratification of the cultural authority of husbands or of the institution of slavery. It was a practical admonition for the furtherance of the gospel.
    But TODAY, what hinders the gospel? The doctrine of male authority over women hinders the gospel– because I know you are not the only person who has rejected Christianity in recent years because of this very thing! What Christians are doing is ignoring the purpose of Paul’s words in order to focus on his literal meaning– thus negating his actual message of cultural accommodation for the sake of the gospel!
    Complementarians who insist that egalitarians are simply “capitulating to the culture” in standing for equal treatment of women, are thus missing the point by miles. Egalitarians are not simply capitulating to the culture, but are using a hermeneutic that seeks to hold cultural assumptions separate from the actual message. However complementarians are ignoring the message of Paul that cultural sensitivities DO need to be taken into account.

  160. SM @146
    “Craig #93 “The comps I know focus very much on loving, sacrificial service as the way of exercising leadership and authority.”
    If a woman exhibits loving, sacrificial service is she exercising leadership and authority?
    As a “soft comp”, Craig, would you (have) concede(d) that if your wife were exhibiting loving, sacrificial service that she was exercising leadership and authority? I am new to this doctrinal debate having not heard the comp/egal terms until a couple of years ago.”
    I may be painting myself into a corner here but if I put on my comp hat for a moment (getting a little harder to find it these days!) I would have to answer no. The man is to lead in a sacrificial, loving way. A woman is also to exhibit loving, sacrificial service, but not as a leader in marriage or the church. There are many ways besides leading, that she can serve God. The man should carry out the leadership of #142 in a sacrificial, loving manner, not in a bossy, demanding, self-centered way. Sacrificial loving service can be carried out without having to be a leader. Is that a reasonable comp answer?

  161. SM @146,
    “So, I am trying to get to the bottom of what observable qualitative difference is there between the sexes that makes loving, sacrificial service from a female different than when practiced by a male for whom the same motivations and actions would be leadership and authority.”
    Not sure I fully understand what you are seeking, but I will find my comp hat again and make a comment.
    We may not be able to know a qualitative difference. There may or may not be one. Our task is to obey God in all things. There are many times in the bible people are asked to do things by God that they do not fully understand. We will know the reason one day…..

  162. Gengwall @147,
    “Craig #93 “The comps I know focus very much on loving, sacrificial service as the way of exercising leadership and authority.”

    I agree Craig that they would say that but that doesn’t make it a practical reality. In particular, loving sacrificial service is the opposite of authority (although I think, as we have been discussing, that leadership can be done in a loving and sacrificial way). The key continues to be authority. One can not be servant and master at the same time. If comps want to be master, then they are not engaged in loving sacrificial service no matter how hard they claim to be. Conversely, if one offers the kind of loving sacrificial service that Ephesians 5 calls for, then they, like Christ, have relinquished authority and taken the role of servant. It is a practical impossibility to have it both ways.”
    I think I can agree with your conclusion if the definition of authority and its contrast with leadership is correct as I outlined @142. That’s why I was seeking some more support for these definitions @142. I may be wrong, but I don’t think comps see such a sharp contrast and therefore don’t agree with your conclusions.

  163. Craig,

    I understand what you are saying about leadership but it is an unrealistic paradigm. What SM was saying is “given the exact same act of ‘loving sacrificial service’ performed by a man or a woman, what makes it leadership for the man but not leadership for the woman”. Your “comp hat” example requires that there is a specific, exact, uncrossable line between “loving sacrificial service” acts that a man does as opposed to those that a woman does. But not only does the bible make no such distinction, it teaches exactly the opposite. Gifting for “loving sacrificial service” is not specific to gender. So any act of “loving sacrificial service”, even one that falls under the category of “leading”, can be performed by a man or a woman with the blessing of God. SM’s point is, how can the very same act be identified as leadership if it is performed by a man but not so identified if it is performed by a woman? Conversely, where is the list in the bible of what acts constitute leadership and therefore are restricted only to men? Especially in the marriage realm?

    The reality is that there are a million activities of daily living that qualify as “leading”, especially in marriage. Virtual every decision and every task can have one spouse or the other “take the lead”. They also can be acts of “loving sacrificial service” to the other spouse, to our children, or to the marriage itself. The argument that men are the only ones qualified to do any act that involves leadership is demonstrably false. The argument that God directs men to do any act that involves leadership is without biblical support. And the argument that women simply are forbidden to do any act that involves leadership denies the gifting of the Spirit. All of the comp arguments in support of the notion that “the man is to lead in a sacrificial, loving way…a woman is also to exhibit loving, sacrificial service, but not as a leader” are cultural, not biblical.

  164. Craig, ha we cross posted. Let me just respond briefly to #163.

    I agree that comps do not see such a sharp contrast. I contend that they have tunnel vision or blinders on. At any rate, they depart from reality when it comes to their view of authority. Watering it down rhetorically so that it “looks” nice and safe and “soft” doesn’t change the reality that the exercise of authority and Genesis 3:16 authoritarian “rule” are exactly the same thing.

  165. Craig #160 “A woman is also to exhibit loving, sacrificial service, but not as a leader in marriage or the church. There are many ways besides leading, that she can serve God. The man should carry out the leadership of #142 in a sacrificial, loving manner…. Sacrificial loving service can be carried out without having to be a leader. Is that a reasonable comp answer?”

    #142 “LEADERSHIP is about guiding, directing, pointing, protecting, assisting, giving encouragement and example to follow what is taught.”

    Craig, that is consistent with what I have heard and read of hier-comps. It seems it boils down to semantics redefined based on gender.

    If men guide, direct, point, protect, assist, give encouragement and an example to follow they are leading.

    If women guide, direct, point, protect, assist, give encouragement and an example to follow they are submitting.

    If hier-arch comps are going to teach that leadership (sacrifical loving) is exclusively the role of the males, as they do, and submission exclusively the role of the females, as they do, then the behaviors that define leadership….guide, direct, point, protect, assist, etc., and those that define submission, must not be used interchangeably by the sexes otherwise, to borrow their term, we have gender confusion.

    That would be more consistent than simply saying well males and females practically do the same things, but when men do it is is leading and when women do it is submitting.

  166. SM @148′
    “Craig #93 “We have always mutually decided on things and worked together as a team. I wore the leader badge but have never had to use it. So in this aspect, I am not sure if our marriage would practically change at all if we became egal.”
    Craig, when I read, “I wore the leader badge but have never had to use it,” it sounded as if you do believe you have some degree of authority (to command obedience or compliance either by reward or punishment). I know you don’t mean a literal badge, but it sounds as if you believe(d) you inherently had some type of authority to wield should you deem it necessary.”
    I am sorry if I misled you with the “leader badge” idea. I have never believed that I have had authority to command obedience or compliance either by reward or punishment or any of the “authority” words from #142. This idea of authority is new to me. The most “authority” meant to me was that if some situation arose (and it never did) where my wife and I couldn’t come to some mutual agreement after prayer, discussion, time, counsel etc, I would be responsible to make the decision. I have discussed this with a few comps over the years and they had a similar opinion. I think I have been a fairly “bad” comp in both my marriage and church leadership situations because I have never thought about having or exercising the type of authority envisaged in #142.

  167. In this discussion, I deferred to others to define the terms which was well done. I would like to respond to this:

    Craig #160 “Sacrificial loving service can be carried out without having to be a leader.”

    I would contend if you are exhibiting sacrificial loving service in the name of Christ, you are leading (influencing) for Christ’s sake that His fame might increase and His nature be revealed in and through you whether you are are male or female, young or old.

  168. “This idea of authority is new to me. The most “authority” meant to me was that if some situation arose (and it never did) where my wife and I couldn’t come to some mutual agreement after prayer, discussion, time, counsel etc, I would be responsible to make the decision.”

    And I would respond that you neither have “made the decision” or exercised “authority” in this scenario. Aren’t the phrases “mutual agreement” and “mutual decision” the same? Or are you saying that you would declare “I have decided that we will do the thing we mutually agreed to do”? Doesn’t that sound rediculous? Nor is any authority exercised because there is noone to exercise it over – your wife and you are in agreement.

  169. Craig,

    “…if some situation arose (and it never did) where my wife and I couldn’t come to some mutual agreement after prayer, discussion, time, counsel etc, I [Craig] would be responsible to make the decision”

    Are you saying that you always were/are the one responsible to make a decision if no agreement could be reached? On what basis does your responsibility lie? Was/is this a responsibility that is non-transferrable?

    Are their time limits or some type of criteria that had to be exhausted before you would have had to make the decision should you have come to an impasse? Were these agreed upon?

    Thanks, Craig, for you input. I know you are searching, too, so no pressure.

  170. Hey Craig,

    Sorry if it sounds like we are picking at you. We appreciate your openness. You have to understand that we have heard this kind of soft-comp double-talk (I make the decision once we mutually decide, act “x” is leadership if a man does it but submission if a woman does it, etc.) for a long time so we get a little cynical. It isn’t you.

  171. Mark’s example keeps coming up as the perfect illustration of the soft-comp contradiction. He says that he makes the “decision” regarding when his children leave the table. But he can’t claim that such a decision is unilaterally deligated to the male, at least not biblically. Nor can he claim that he always makes that decision – if the tom-cat’s away, it is his wife’s play. Nor can he demonstrate that such a decision shows his authority over his wife, since he would not, I presume, pretend that he can tell her when she can leave the table. Not can he really call his wife’s deference “submission” since she is not actually submitting to him but is simply supporting an approach to child rearing that they both agree with and have mutually “decided” to employ. So everything that Mark claims his example shows about headship, submission, and authority is actually unsupported by the very nature of the act within the example.

  172. “The man is to lead in a sacrificial, loving way. A woman is also to exhibit loving, sacrificial service, but not as a leader in marriage or the church.”

    Craig, hopefully I’m not repeating someone else’s question here. Just got up. :)

    So, what is the difference between leading sacrificially and serving sacrificially? In your opinion….

  173. The bowling ball in a blanket is a very apt description of the male trump card in decision making. As well Cheryl’s point that the only time the trump card comes up is when there is disagreement. If mutual submission were in action, then compromise, prayer until agreement would be happening. Without that then the trump card is just another way for the husband to always get his way in disagreement. Interestingly also, I have never seen a valid Scriptural defense for the ‘male being final decision maker’ in marriage.

  174. “I would contend if you are exhibiting sacrificial loving service in the name of Christ, you are leading (influencing) for Christ’s sake that His fame might increase and His nature be revealed in and through you whether you are are male or female, young or old.”
    sm,
    I’d just like to build on your thought here. Paul said,
    “Be followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” 1Cor 11:1 & “For yourselves know how you ought to follow us:…. but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us” 2Thes 3:7,9. As I shared in an earlier comment, “Follow” there is from the Greek “mimetai” or “mimetes” – meaning to mimic.

    Another Greek word “opiso” which means “to the back” is translated as “follow” also. “Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” James and John responded to the same call and “went after him.” Jesus said, “Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke14. This type of “following” is only appropriate when it is Jesus we are “following”.

    Also, the Greek word “akoloutheo” which means “to be in the same way with, to accompany” is translated as “follow”. “Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead” Matt. 8:22; “And as Jesus passed forth, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said to him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him” Matt. 9:9;
    “And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him” Mark 1:18.
    “a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers… My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” John 10:2-5, 27. – Neither Paul nor other disciples us these two words (“opiso” & “akoloutheo) regarding “following” them personally.

    Jesus uses both in one makes a very poignant statement: “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, ‘If any man will come after (opiso) Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow (akoloutheito) Me’”

  175. Gengwall @ 170
    “Sorry if it sounds like we are picking at you”
    That’s OK. I knew if I put my comp hat on I would need my suit of armour as well :) If I am going to think these issues through properly, I need to be able to expose my comp arguments and receive your replies. You are all playing nicely and trying to be helpful. Thank you.
    Your replies to me also give me a model to work on in discussions with others if/when I become convinced of the Egal position.
    I will try and reply to the questions as I get time.

  176. “That’s OK. I knew if I put my comp hat on I would need my suit of armour as well :)”

    Craig,
    :) Regular doses of humor do go a long way in keeping us all in proper perspective!

  177. I am beginning to understand some of the things you are all trying to say in these last few comments. Thank you. Can I restate some things to see if I am on the right track?

    Virtually all acts of loving sacrificial service can in some way be considered leadership. It is impossible to draw a line and say some acts of service are not leadership but after that line they are. Therefore, women cannot be excluded from acts that involve leadership because they would then not be able to serve others at all.
    “Authority” as defined @142 is not compatible with sacrificial service.
    “Authority” as defined @142 contrasts with leadership.
    “Leadership” is compatible with sacrificial service.

  178. In the interests of accuracy, I probably should just address a couple of things, although they may not have much bearing on the overall discussion.
    Gengwall @168
    You quoted me
    “This idea of authority is new to me. The most “authority” meant to me was that if some situation arose (and it never did) where my wife and I couldn’t come to some mutual agreement after prayer, discussion, time, counsel etc, I would be responsible to make the decision.”
    You said
    “And I would respond that you neither have “made the decision” or exercised “authority” in this scenario.”
    I would totally agree. The situation never arose for me to have to make the decision or exercise authority.
    You continued
    “Aren’t the phrases “mutual agreement” and “mutual decision” the same? Or are you saying that you would declare “I have decided that we will do the thing we mutually agreed to do”? Doesn’t that sound rediculous? Nor is any authority exercised because there is noone to exercise it over – your wife and you are in agreement.”
    Not sure what you are getting at. I would have always said we mutually agreed on things, and mutually decided- no authority was exercised. I would never have tried to claim some “leadership points” (if that is what you are meaning) by saying “I have decided that we will do the thing we mutually agreed to do.” Maybe “soft” comp is too “hard” :) to describe the way we operated. I have said before that in practice, from day to day, our marriage has operated more like an egal marriage. I remember discussing in bible study groups a few times just what this “authority” looked like. The best we could come up with was that I had an authority card up my sleeve, but it has never been used or been remotely necessary. I have hardly even thought about it, unless someone else raised the subject and I had to think about it.

  179. SM @169
    you asked
    “Are you saying that you always were/are the one responsible to make a decision if no agreement could be reached?”
    Yes. But it never happened.
    you asked
    “On what basis does your responsibility lie?
    I would have used the well known passages 1 Tim 2, Eph 5, 1Pet 3 etc
    You asked
    “Was/is this a responsibility that is non-transferrable?”
    Do you mean to my wife? I would have answered no.
    You asked
    “Are their time limits or some type of criteria that had to be exhausted before you would have had to make the decision should you have come to an impasse? Were these agreed upon?
    Never really thought about these things. Sounds too much like a legal contract! I just knew I had to put her needs ahead of mine, be willing to die for her- to love her as Christ loved the church. If I did that, the situation was never likely to come up because my wife is godly and loves me too.

    Thanks, Craig, for you input. I know you are searching, too, so no pressure.

  180. It’s good to remember also that authority as the world defines it is often at contrast with the kinds of authority that God gives us as Christians. The majority of the authority that God gives us is NOT positional but is part of the Holy Spirit’s gifting us for service. It is about abilities and spiritual power. Then there is the authority we have as emissaries of God which is both positional and spiritual.

    When Jesus described a disciplining for those sinning it was not an individual that exercised this type of authority, but the whole body of Christ.

  181. Hi Craig,

    I was responding more to your comp hat than your marital reality. Many soft-comps actually do try to make a distinction between “mutual agreement” and the final decision. They actually do claim that although they and their spouse had a mutual agreement to follow a course of action, the “decision” was still theirs and theirs alone. So, I was just pointing out the contradiction in a typical comp argument, not trying to pin that argument on you as a practical example of your own marriage. Sorry for the confusion.

  182. TL @ 172,
    You asked
    So, what is the difference between leading sacrificially and serving sacrificially? In your opinion….
    I think this is a really good question, and ties in with what others have said and my summary in #177. I need to think more about this issue.
    I understand that you would say none (correct me if I am wrong), and if I tried to distinguish them you could push me into very uncomfortable positions.
    I’d like to see what you would say, so I’ll answer that serving sacrificially is broader in scope. Leading sacrificially is just one way of serving sacrificially.

  183. “I’d like to see what you would say, so I’ll answer that serving sacrificially is broader in scope. Leading sacrificially is just one way of serving sacrificially.”
    Craig,
    So, is there any other option/qualifier for ‘leading’ than “sacrificially”? If so, do tell. :)

  184. Craig – I really do like the way you are hanging in there. You are not afraid to hear the contradictions in the comp arguments and ponder them. It is usually at this point that most of our comp friends move the goal posts. So bravo.

    I should also note that your continuing questions and firm insistence on narrowing the definitions is a great sharpener for us. Rarely do we get to the point where we have to refine and pinpoint our arguments to address the more prickly details of topics like authority vs leadership. This has been good iron sharpening iron all the way around.

  185. @184
    True, gengwall. Many things sound good in theory – but taken down to ‘nitty-gritty’ reveal something else entirely!

  186. “I’d like to see what you would say, so I’ll answer that serving sacrificially is broader in scope. Leading sacrificially is just one way of serving sacrificially.”

    Craig, 182

    Actually, that works for me. Anyone can lead in certain circumstances and everyone should be serving in pretty much all they do, but not everyone is called to lead in broader scopes. Broader scopes of leading would be in ministry, which anyone can be called to but not everyone is called or equipped to do so. Leading in non ministry is a matter of being equipped in some way with knowledge, skills, or experience. In Christian ministry there is also knowledge, skills, experience but in addition there is a spiritual equipping by God linked to a personal calling.

    What say you to that Craig? :)

  187. Forgot to add just for clarity that leading sacrificially as you call it is always attuned to benefitting others and not keyed to benefit self as the world does even whilst saying they are benefitting others. God benefits those who lead according to His calling and gifting. It is His will we are to be doing and not our own.

  188. I appreciate the distinction being made between authority and leadership. It makes sense to think of it this way, when we are talking about those called to church leadership– that they are being called to a role of leadership and not to a positional place of authority.
    I want to reiterate that Paul and Peter both use certain ideas when speaking of the conduct and qualifications of those called to leadership in the church. I still believe the complete absence of anything similar regarding the conduct of husbands as those “called” to leadership by the mere fact of being male and married, is extremely telling. Husbands are culturally in authority, but are not “called” by God to leadership over their wives.

  189. I am really enjoying the discussion!

    Thanks TL and Cheryl to your response regarding parental authority over children…ages ago! It was very helpful.

    Craig, where in Australia are you?

  190. Hi Dave,
    You asked
    “Craig, where in Australia are you?”
    I sent you a private message to your email address on your blog with some details.

  191. Gengwall @181,
    “So, I was just pointing out the contradiction in a typical comp argument, not trying to pin that argument on you as a practical example of your own marriage. Sorry for the confusion”
    Thanks for clarifying this. I can follow what you are saying now.

  192. Kay @183,
    You asked
    “So, is there any other option/qualifier for ‘leading’ than “sacrificially”? If so, do tell. :)”

    Not sure what you are after here.
    Leading……… competently/ incompetently; wisely/foolishly; unselfishly/selfishly; humbly/ proudly or arrogantly. These and others could qualify the leading. Or do you mean sacrificially/authoritatively?

  193. TL @186,
    “I’d like to see what you would say, so I’ll answer that serving sacrificially is broader in scope. Leading sacrificially is just one way of serving sacrificially.”

    Actually, that works for me. Anyone can lead in certain circumstances and everyone should be serving in pretty much all they do, but not everyone is called to lead in broader scopes. Broader scopes of leading would be in ministry, which anyone can be called to but not everyone is called or equipped to do so. Leading in non ministry is a matter of being equipped in some way with knowledge, skills, or experience. In Christian ministry there is also knowledge, skills, experience but in addition there is a spiritual equipping by God linked to a personal calling.
    What say you to that Craig? :)

    Not sure if you have understood what I meant, or that I understand what you mean. I would like to see what others say about this before I comment more. Note I said “serving is broader in scope”, not “leading in broader scopes”. What do you mean by “ministry”?

  194. I asked in #142
    “Would more Comps agree with Egals when they argue against authority if they had the same definitions? What is the bible evidence for these distinctions in definition?”
    and #162
    “I think I can agree with your conclusion if the definition of authority and its contrast with leadership is correct as I outlined @142. That’s why I was seeking some more support for these definitions @142. I may be wrong, but I don’t think comps see such a sharp contrast and therefore don’t agree with your conclusions.”

    I’d like to repeat the question in another way. Say I become an Egal, and my comp friend asks me about it. If I think that the meaning of “authority” and its difference to “leadership”is a good argument for the egal position, and my friend says “I don’t think they mean that” what would I say to back up the meanings as given in #142?

  195. I wonder how many comp/egal disagreements, and other disagreements in the Christian community, for that matter, stem from that line from The Princess Bride:

    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  196. Ahhhh yes… The Princess Bride. Wuve, twue wuve, bwings us togever…

    There is much wisdom to be found in that movie – inconcievable! You raise a good point Amaranth.

  197. Craig,

    Based on what I have read and heard, the terms are not contrasted but are used interchangeably and sometimes in novel ways. In reading comp material online, listening to sermons, and in comments on this blog, I have noticed a redefining of terms and misuse of words to accommodate ideology. Effective communication is very difficult when words are not used grammatically and according to their denotations which were decided long before this conversation began.

    For example, in a previous thread, the noun authority was used as a verb meaning to nurture, to cherish, and to care for. I think we have to agree on terms and definitions to effectively communicate because wives nurture, cherish, and care, and hier-comps commenting here agreed, but would not agree that wives “authoritied” their husbands.

    This could be eliminated if we would just say what the text says: “husbands love (agape) your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, nourishing her, cherishing her, washing her with the water of the word to present to Himself a bride without spot or wrinkle…”. Today, listening to an ACTS 29 pastor online, I heard him define a husband’s *authority* as “leading like Christ loved the church and gave Himself….” Again, this is mixing in words that are not in the text and making the text say something it is not.

    If a hier-comp says he has authority over his wife then what does that mean? For you, authority means the responsibility to break a tie when spouses arrive at an impasse. For another it means, nourishing, cherishing. For another, leading like Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.

    That women were under the authority of their husband or father was assumed in ancient biblical culture. You gave a few scriptures for the basis of your husbandly authority, but I do not see any evidence in your examples that divinely ordains a husband to have authority, as it is defined, over his wife, although I would agree he has responsibility in the marriage but not as a irrevocable, immutable tie-breaker.

    PS I haven’t seen Princess Bride, but, boy, does that line fit this issue.

  198. gengwall @184

    Craig – I really do like the way you are hanging in there. You are not afraid to hear the contradictions in the comp arguments and ponder them. It is usually at this point that most of our comp friends move the goal posts. So bravo.

    I heartily agree! Craig has a lot of spunk and I see in him a real lover of truth. Many would leave this forum because they feel like they aren’t getting their points through to us, but Craig is one who wants to understand us first so that he knows what he is accepting or rejecting. His example of pushing for communication for mutual understanding is a fine example.

    Craig, I wish there were many more just like yourself. You are a true joy for me to have your participation as part of this on-line community! Way to go with showing a Christ-like spirit even if you don’t agree with everything that we say here. You are a true brother in Christ and I very much appreciate you.

  199. SM,
    You too have been a special joy to have on this blog. I like the way that you seem to be so calm as you discuss things that are clear to you but not to clear to others.

    The issue of submission and authority in marriage has not been one that I wanted to discuss, but I truly have learned from all of the comments here. I was away celebrating our 38th wedding anniversary. It is by the grace of God that we survived the years as comps to live out our remaining years as two people who honor Christ’s command for mutual submission. Changing from the overweighted responsibility on my husband’s shoulders to mutual accountability has brought mutual respect and mutual joy.

  200. I’ve noticed something, in following this and other discussions. After haggling about heads and bodies and passages and culture and what Paul may or may not have meant to say in what text…both egals and comps eventually employ what I call a “shut down” argument. When I see this, I know that whoever it is who is talking has made up their mind, and is no longer willing to entertain the other viewpoint. Some people refuse to think further than the shut down, no matter what evidence is presented to them.

    Both parties, in the end, appeal directly to God. But what I have noticed, and I find this telling, is that those who support the complimentarian stance will appeal to God’s *authority* as the reason they won’t change, while those who support the egalitarian stance will appeal to God’s *love* as the reason they won’t change.

    Comp shut-down argument: “Why can’t you accept the possibility that man over woman is just the way God set things up? God can do things however he wants, and we don’t always understand it, and we don’t always have to like it. But our opinion doesn’t change the way things are.”

    Egal shut-down argument: “Why can’t you accept the possibility that male superiority is wrong, and that God didn’t endorse it? How could that be a *bad* thing? Why would a God of love set things up in such a way that half the human race would always be subordinate to the other?”

    Comps must appeal to God’s authority, because in truth, who COULD possibly understand how a God of love would desire men to rule over women? There’s just no way to construe that into a loving action…so they pull the “God’s ways/morals/reasons are mysterious and we cannot understand them” card. (Um, hello, Jesus? “Whoever sees me sees the Father”?) It relieves them of the burden of perpetuating a worldview that they themselves sometimes admit makes it more difficult to live as loving Christians. “Well, don’t get mad at *me*, it’s not like *I* set it up that way, *God’s* the one who made the rules, who are we to question?”

    “12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

    I guess pointing the finger at God to absolve oneself of moral responsibility never gets old.

    Egals, on the other hand, have seen that mutuality between the genders naturally creates and fosters a more loving and Christlike atmosphere in a marriage, and have decided to err on the side of love…because they feel that’s what the God they see in Jesus would have done. Some even seem willing to stand against the perceived God in the books in order to stand on the side of love, and as such, on the side of the true God.

    I feel that if you have to appeal to God’s authority because you cannot appeal to his love…something is wrong with your argument. I mean, which argument speaks more of a trustworthy God? “God loves you; it would behoove you to listen” or “God can do whatever the hell he wants with you; it would behoove you to listen”? Both may be true, but which way did your Jesus choose to interact with people? Hmm…

    That, and that alone, is enough to put me personally solidly in the egal camp. We can argue Scripture and lexicons and interpretations ’til we’re blue in the face (or red…when things get frustrating), but to me it comes down to this: In an instance where authority and love seem to clash…am I to believe that God’s authority is the ultimate answer, or am I to believe God’s love is the ultimate answer? I don’t worship God because he’s all-powerful, and can do whatever he wants. I worship God because he loves me. I would never trust a God just because he had all the power. I will, however, trust a God who has all the power if I know he loves me. I trust an appeal to loving authority. I balk at an appeal to a loveless/inscrutable authority.

  201. Amaranth @ 200, I think you come to some conclusions that I have recognised in the Australian gender debate. Those who believe in the ordination of women were labelled as liberal – people with an unhealthy interest in “love” to the extent that they did not even believe in the truth and the authority of the Bible; and those who did not believe in the ordination of women were labelled as “fundamentalist” who were too wrapped up in the truth of scripture to give a hoot about how other people felt.

    I think though that there is a growing third dimension to the discussion which I think is reflected here at CHeryl’s blog. It is a desire to know both authority and love, or if you like, truth and grace. Cheryl has experienced God’s love, and wants to live in submission to his authority. I like this because it reflects the Gospel of Jesus – it contains truth (the identity of Jesus as the Son of God, a desire to see sin dealt with, not swept under the carpet) and also contains grace (Jesus taking our sin for us, showing love not legalism).

    This is why Cheryl argues her case for a loving God using the authority of God revealed through scripture.

    I see Egalitarianism as a reflection of God’s love that is in line with the truth of his authority. Sorry to ramble and sorry if this is not clear!

  202. Amaranth @ 200 said, “I would never trust a God just because he had all the power. I will, however, trust a God who has all the power if I know he loves me. I trust an appeal to loving authority. I balk at an appeal to a loveless/inscrutable authority.”

    Amen! I think this is where I am coming from. Perhaps I should avoid rambling!

  203. good ramblings Dave. :)

  204. The other thing is that there’s always a danger in forgetting that reading the Bible is for all of us a matter of interpretation. None of us are the original author or the original audience, none of us was taught Koine Greek as our first language. So when someone says: “Well, don’t get mad at *me*, it’s not like *I* set it up that way, *God’s* the one who made the rules, who are we to question?” — what they are really saying is, “The way it reads to me IS the true and accurate meaning, and you’d better just accept it!” They are equating the questioning of their interpretation with questioning God Himself. This is a dangerous practice and lacks the humility of wisdom spoken of in James 3.
    Peter himself said that Paul’s teachings were hard to understand– and yet there are Christians who claim they know exactly what Paul meant at all times (particularly when it comes to verses about women), and I’d better agree with them or I’m rebelling against God!
    Well, I don’t agree with them; I think they’re wrong. But I won’t tell them they’re in rebellion for not agreeing with me. I won’t tell them they’re rejecting the Scriptures if they reject my interpretation of it. And as for their marriages– if the husbands are loving their wives, serving and not oppressing them, they can be the leaders all they want. But they should let me and my husband have our mutual/egalitarian marriage, and respect that.

  205. “Based on what I have read and heard, the terms are not contrasted but are used interchangeably and sometimes in novel ways. In reading comp material online, listening to sermons, and in comments on this blog, I have noticed a redefining of terms and misuse of words to accommodate ideology. Effective communication is very difficult when words are not used grammatically and according to their denotations which were decided long before this conversation began.”

    I second this. I was recently at a wedding where the families and denominations involved are observably soft-comp. As luck would have it, the sermonette was on Eph 5. Most of what the pastor said was just fine. But he mentioned “biblical leadership” in relation to the husband at one point. It is clear, what he meant, was male authority in the soft-comp sense (he had just finished talking about the husband’s “role” to “guide” the marriage). So, leadership and authority, in this example, were definately interchangeable. It is just that “leadership” sounds much more PC

  206. SM – “PS I haven’t seen Princess Bride, but, boy, does that line fit this issue.”

    Inconceivable! Have you been mostly dead? Or simply lost in the pit of despair (*gengwall clears throat*) Maybe you are blathing? Truly you have a dizzying intellect. I suppose you are also going to tell us you are not left handed. Quick, someone get SM a holocaust coat, a screaming eel, and a rodent of unusual size! I promise you it isn’t a kissing movie, if that turns you off.

    I suggest you get yourself a nice mutton-lettuce-and tomatoe sandwich, take a chocolate covered miracle pill, sit back, and enjoy the movie, for there will be blood tonight!

  207. Inconceivable! Have you been mostly dead? Or simply lost in the pit of despair (*gengwall clears throat*)

    No, I just live under a rock. I have always been out of the pop-culture loop. Anything I know about pop-culture I learn from the news.

    “Maybe you are blathing?”

    Bluffing? No.

    “Truly you have a dizzying intellect.”

    No, at least average, I hope.

    “I suppose you are also going to tell us you are not left handed.”

    Right.

    “Quick, someone get SM a holocaust coat, a screaming eel, and a rodent of unusual size!”

    I have no idea what this means.

    “I promise you it isn’t a kissing movie, if that turns you off. ”

    Nah, but I did think it was a new kid (girl) movie, until recently, and figured I hadn’t heard of it since I had all boys. A few months back, maybe February, I was reading comp material/blogs online and PB was on several top 10 lists of romantic or chick-flick man-approved movies. I looked it up and realized it is from the 80s.

    “I suggest you get yourself a nice mutton-lettuce-and tomatoe sandwich, take a chocolate covered miracle pill, sit back, and enjoy the movie, for there will be blood tonight!”

    I am going to have to do that—enjoy the movie that is.

  208. “top 10 lists of romantic or chick-flick man-approved movies”

    PB is definately man approved. It has “fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…”, and of course: “My name is Indigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!”

    More than enough to suffer through the kissing parts.

  209. gengwall,
    We all loved the movie The Princess Bride. My oldest son and his best friend memorized most of the lines in that movie. It is quite an experience to watch two teenage boys become the characters in that movie at the drop of a hat. Gengwall, I suspect that you too could quote all of the dialog.

    It is a bit of a comic relief for me. I am really busy these days but am also struggling with the wounds that have opened up with discussing authority and submission in marriage. On an older post that has become active again through the comments of a comp, I was told that my experiences through years of marriage as a comp were not the true comp lifestyle. Old wounds hurt and make me want to just stay away. I will have to deal with that. The problem with what this comp is saying is that the comp marriage model that is the true model is not the soft model that many experience today which is really 99% egalitarian in disguise. I experienced the true model and many others have also experienced that model of having one’s will overridden and it is painful to relive even though we dumped that model many years ago. The truth of the matter is that the comp marriage model encourages abuse when it is taught to men who really in their hearts want to do their best as husbands but are told that they have a responsibility to “lead” the marriage with a God-given “right” that the wife doesn’t have and a God-given “trump card” that assures them that their “leading” will be followed. When the wife balks at the leading, the fault, according to leading comp teachers, is the wife’s, not the comp marriage model. But it is interesting to note that almost all leading comp teachers who have been open about their marriages have expressed the need for counselling because the wife at some point became a non person and was experiencing distress because of it. For some wives the recognition of becoming a non person happens early in the marriage and for others it happens late in life when the children leave. A man really cannot know how his wife feels inside and often he does nothing about her pain until she falls apart. It is then that the hard comp model of marriage is softened because of necessity.

    It seems to me that the comp model of marriage should come with a warning sticker. “Be careful and handle with care. Your wife’s soul and her very identity as a person is at stake.”

  210. ““Quick, someone get SM a holocaust coat, a screaming eel, and a rodent of unusual size!””

    Gengwall, I suspect it refers to getting someone something to wake them up. LOL Thanks for the laughter. You must be a real card in real life. :)

  211. Alas – TL – those “wake-ups” are not my own but are actual objects referred to in the movie, although they certainly would wake someone up all on their own. Don’t tell me you are also Princess Brideless.

  212. Cheryl – sorry to hear about old wounds. I’m glad our little sidebar brings a smile.

  213. gengwall, yep never saw the movie. :) it all sounds delightful though.

  214. “gengwall, yep never saw the movie. it all sounds delightful though.”

    Inconceivable!

  215. gengwall,
    Add me to the “yep never saw the movie” list.

  216. LOL Gengwall. yes, and apparently regrettable as well! I’ll have to alert some of my friends that we need to find it and watch it.

  217. Cheryl,
    I hope that some day those old wounds will lose their sensitivity and, Lord willing, you’ll be able to use for good what the enemy tried to destroy you with.

  218. Kay – “gengwall,
    Add me to the “yep never saw the movie” list.”

    Man in Black to gengwall – “get used to disappointment”

  219. “Man in Black to gengwall – “get used to disappointment”

    O.k., now I must see this movie…out of sheer self-defense! :)

  220. Great comments over the weekend! Amaranath@200 & Dave@201

    Kristin@204 – you took the words right out of my mouth!

  221. Craig #194 “Say I become an Egal, and my comp friend asks me about it. If I think that the meaning of “authority” and its difference to “leadership”is a good argument for the egal position, and my friend says “I don’t think they mean that” what would I say to back up the meanings as given in #142?”

    Authority defined in RBMW:

    “36. What is the meaning of authority when you talk about it in relation to the home and the church?
    This question is crucial because the New Testament shows that the basic relationships of life fit together in terms of authority and compliance….And in marriage the wife is called to submit to the sacrificial headship of her husband…. What becomes clear as soon as we try to give a definition to this authority is that its *form* changes from one relationship to another. We would define authority in general as the right (Matthew 8:9) and power (Mark 1:27; 1 Corinthians 7:37) and responsibility (2 Corinthians 10:8; 13:10) to give direction to another…For Christians, right and power recede and responsibility predominates….Authority becomes a burden to bear… It is a sacred duty to discharge for the good of others…. The transformation of authority is most thorough in marriage. This is why we prefer to speak of *leadership* and *headship* rather than authority….The husband’s authority is a God-given burden to be carried in humility….Thus authority in general is the right, power, and responsibility to direct others.” (pg 71-72) (*emphasis added)

    Hier-comps define authority as the right, power, and responsibility to direct others and in the marriage relationship husbandly authority dovetails with wifely compliance. The ellipses were used for brevity’s sake but the response addresses the idea that governments are to establish and justly enforce laws and parents should lovingly enforce compliance, etc. The next natural progression in the discussion would be that husbands “lovingly enforce wifely compliance” since basic relationships are knitted together by authority and compliance and how for Christians authority is transformed in its various forms–government/citizen; employer/employee; parent/child. The article stops short of that. Why?

    Moreover, hier-comps actually want to shy away from using the word authority, by renaming it headship and leadership, but still hang on to authority as the right, power, and responsibility to direct others with a qualifier that responsibility predominates right and power. It appears there is an attempt to make husbandly authority and wifely compliance more palatable by first renaming it and then describing the right, power, and responsibility to direct others in an authority-compliance relationship model as a “burden to be carried in humility” and “a sacred duty to discharge for the good of others”.

    Craig, I point this out because as I read it, to hier-comps authority and leadership mean the same thing and is something to be exercised or possessed by males only. That is why in their definitions for manhood and womanhood only men lead and women receive masculine leadership.

    If you were asked that question, you may have to start with explaining how you understand the terms and are using them.

  222. As I said before, this is a great gig if you are a guy. Not only do you get to boss your wife around, but you get to claim you are doing it as a “burden” and “a sacred duty” for your wife’s own good. “It’s good to be the king!”

  223. Craig@194 & sm@221

    More on the redefining issue:
    Craig, you might ask your friend why comps continually add the term “joyful” to “submission” when referring to the wife in Eph. 5:22, but not “joyfull submission” in verse 21 where every believer is addressed? (Especially, since the verb “submit” isn’t in vs.22 in the Greek in the first place…)

  224. One culprit in all of this is the traditional division into chapters and verses. In order to keep the numbering system, translators add a verb that alters the meaning of the whole. What difference it would make to believers if translators could break free from restrictive verse numbers so we read Ephesians as one whole. It could mean that translators may not feel the need to add a verb that does not exist in Greek, just to make a complete sentence out of a verbless phrase in Greek. Just sayin’…

  225. Craig – It occurs to me you may not know what Kay is addressing with the verse parsing issue. In certain Greek manuscripts, specifically the ones used and compiled to make up the “base” Greek text for all modern English translations of the New Testament, “verses” 21 and 22 of Ephesians 5 read as:

    “and submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ; the wives to their own husbands as to the Lord”

    In other words, the verb to submit is not repeated in verse 22. Whereas many English bibles make a break in the text between verses 21 and 22, implying that there is no clear connection between the two sections of the chapter, the actual Greek text makes it clear that verse 22 is a direct extension of verse 21. The mutual submission, absent of any authority, that verse 21 clearly calls for is identical to the submission wives are to have in regards to their husbands.

    It is legitimate to ask “why the redundancy directed at wives in particular”, and I think we have covered some of that ground in the comments here. What is not legitimate is to claim that the submission wives are to have is something different than the submission we are all called tohave in verse 21. And it is totally disingenuous to claim such a distinction should be in place based on extra-biblical chapter/verse separations.

  226. Thanks SM for #221,
    I looked up the whole answer in my RBMW book. Very interesting.
    I had wondered if Egals could argue that the comp definition of “authority” was wrong because……
    The only answer to that seems to be that “you are changing the meaning of the word depending on the relationship- you can’t do that- words have meanings.”
    But then the comp will say “but isn’t that exactly what you do with the word ‘head’- you change its meaning to suit different contexts?”
    So really it is hard to argue this one conclusively, we just have to accept that the definitions are different to understand each other. Is that correct?

  227. Craig 226,

    No one has changed the meaning of kephale. We all agree that it means the head on ones shoulders. However, when any word is used as a metaphor, then we can only truly get the gist of the meaning by paying close attention to how it is used in context. We don’t want to pull it out of it’s metaphor. What is happening with that word is that the hierarchalists are attaching a modern English metaphor to the ancient Greek metaphor which has no backing in the Greek of the era in question.

    Other than that, all words do have a range of meanings anyway which we need to pay attention to in context. However, what is happening with CBMW’s definitions of authority and leadership is that they are going outside the range of the words’ normal meanings and in effect beginning to change the meanings. They’ve already done that successfully with the meaning of complementing in the new term complementarian. Those who understand the meaning of the word according to Webster’s think they are talking about how two people’s differences can complete and support each other. This is hinted at by the phrase “equal but different”. But that isn’t how they are using it. In fact the phrase ‘equal but different’ is tweaked strangely also.

    As a person who believes in Biblical equality I can say that I believe strongly that all people are equal but different, and of course men and women are equal but different. But I don’t mean it the way that CBMW promotes it. Also, I’d say that egals live the dictionary meaning of ‘complementarian’ better than many firm hierarchalists do.

    This is what all the definition confusion is about.

  228. Craig #226

    “I had wondered if Egals could argue that the comp definition of “authority” was wrong because……”

    I can’t speak for egals, but it doesn’t seem as though the hier-comp definition from RBMW of authority as the right, power, and responsibility to direct others in tandem with compliance is different than the standard dictionary definition summarized in 142. Speaking for myself, I don’t think the definition used in this excerpt of RBMW is necessarily wrong; I don’t think male authority in marriage is the ideal or God ordained.

  229. gengwall,
    I saw Princes Bride.
    I know about rodents of sporting Giants.

    Have you seen the bumper sticker (I think that’s what they call it on the computer, facebook, shoutlife) that looks like the standard name tag? It has the “HELLO my name is” at the top and
    “Indigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!” written in the place where the person is supposed to write in their name?
    I rarely LOL. But I did when I saw that bumper sticker.

    Is your disappointment any less?

  230. @Craig “The only answer to that seems to be that “you are changing the meaning of the word depending on the relationship- you can’t do that- words have meanings.”
    But then the comp will say “but isn’t that exactly what you do with the word ‘head’- you change its meaning to suit different contexts?”

    What I understand comps to be doing is taking the English word “authority”, and trying to twist it to mean something other than the English definition of “be in charge of”. So no, in that case, you really can’t take a word in one language and say it means something else in the same language.

    The head debate, on the other hand, seems to be a discrepancy between what the English word “head” means now, and what the Greek word “kephale” meant in Paul’s time. Thus, there’s a gap of both language and time, in which the word could have conceivably changed. Egals aren’t changing the meaning to fit context…they’re using context to discover what the meaning was in the first place.

  231. Mara – yes, it is refreshing to know that at least a couple people here can recite the lineage of the Dread Pirate Roberts.

  232. Craig – Cheryl has discussed kephale a number of times and a search by subject may show you that egals are in fact remaining true to the Greek definitions. You may also be interested in my blog post (pardon the self-serving plug Cheryl) on Paul’s head/body metaphors and how definitions can be a show stopper in the egal/comp debate. The link is:

    Show Stoppers – Kephale: Benevolent Monarchy or Mutual Dependency in Paul’s Head/Body Metaphors.

  233. Several times at church, on name-tag Sunday (about once a month everyone is encouraged to wear a name tag and try to meet new people) I have come within an inch of writing below the words, “Hello, my name is” — “Inigo Montoya; you killed my father, prepare to die.”
    So far I haven’t quite had the gumption to call attention to myself like that. . .
    I love the Princess Bride. The Princess herself is a bit passive for modern tastes, but it doesn’t matter. There’s never been a movie like the Princess Bride! Does anyone have a Holocaust Cloak?

  234. No Kristen, but I think I left a wheelbarrow on top of the albino by the secret tree entrance to the pit of despair. (COM’ON you PB ignorants – you have GOT to want to watch it now)

  235. Yes, watch the movie! I swear on the soul of my father Domingo Montoya, you will reach the end alive.

  236. It does my heart good to hear others quoting the Princess Bride. A friend of mine when I was at school was doing fencing as a sport (with swords and stuff) and was told by his fencing instructor to watch that movie. I assume his instructor wanted him to use his left hand.

    Cheryl, sorry about old wounds. I’m praying.

    Craig, I never got your email. Did you try dave@achurchinryde.com?

  237. I wanted to add, Cheryl, that I think it was brave of you to obey the Spirit’s leading and open this topic even though you knew it would cause you pain. I think it is a very necessary discussion in the issue of women in ministry, because the nature of male-female relations as a whole is foundational to the issue of women in ministry.

    I pray that you continue to find healing, and I admire your courage and your trust in God.

  238. Gengwall @ 232,
    Thanks for the link to your site and for the suggestion to search Cheryl’s site for kephale. I found Mark’s post about headship and 1Cor 11 and have just begun reading the (over 200) comments.
    The information available is very helpful. I have learnt a lot over the last few weeks about both the comp and the egal positions. I have had to think about a lot of questions for comps that I had never thought of. I have also seen a lot of questions answered very well by egals.
    At this stage, I can see a lot more problems with the comp position, but I still have some questions for the egals to help put it all together. I might spend a bit of time reading past posts and comments because the questions may well have already been answered somewhere. Thanks again everyone for all your input.

  239. Craig 238,

    thank you for your graciousness and sincerity. I look forward to hearing what your further thoughts are.

  240. “No more rhymes and I mean it!!” …………

  241. Dave, Kay and Cheryl,

    I had asked for prayer in one of these recent posts and you said you had prayed for me or were going to. Well, I want to thank you all again for praying for me!! The problem IS removed. :) I am SOOO thankful for that. I had to do some work…but this probelm was so big and draining etc that I can’t even explain. AMEN! <3<3<3

  242. Glad to hear it, pinklight!
    Now a deep theological question :) – what does “<3<3<3” mean?

  243. To Elastigirl – “anybody want a peanut?”

  244. Thank you, Gengwall.

  245. Thanks for letting us know, pinklight.

    I am with Kay, is <3<3<3 Hebrew or Greek?

  246. What??! You can’t read Hebrew? Oh pishaw! ;P

    <3<3<3

  247. Sorry if I’m asking the same questions in the same circle, but I’m just struggling to get my head (no pun intended) around the “head” in 1 Cor 11:3 meaning “source” or “foundation” rather than “authority”. Can someone please try and re-explain the interpretation to me?

    Cheryl @ 62 said:
    “So if the literal “head” in Hebrew can mean source, there is no reason why Paul could not have used the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew rosh which is kephale to mean the source, beginning or capstone. After all if Jesus is the capstone of the church, is not the husband the capstone of the wife? It is the beginning stone where everything else is built upon. It is the foundation, not the ruler.”

    I agree through confirmation from other Scriptures that Jesus Christ is the source, beginning, foundation or corner stone of the Church ( Isa 28:16; Eph 2:20 & 1 Pet 2:6 for examples).

    But how is the husband the corner stone of the wife? How is he her foundation and how is she built upon the husband? Are you relating this to the woman being made from the man at creation?

    Cheryl @ 63
    “Let’s see if you measure up to your own advice. Can you admit that the Hebrew equivalent of kephale, the Hebrew word rosh, can mean source or beginning?”

    Also, if “head” in this verse does equate to source, beginning, or corner stone, then how does that relate to “and the head of Christ is God”? I don’t know of any verses in Scripture that show that God was Christ’s foundation? Or that God is the corner stone of Christ? (I’m not saying there aren’t any, but just that I do not know of any), however there are other verses which seem to imply Christ’s submission to God’s will, authority, or headship?

    John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

    Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

    Mar 13:32 But of that day and [that] hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

    MY head is spinning! lol

  248. “Also, if “head” in this verse does equate to source, beginning, or corner stone, then how does that relate to “and the head of Christ is God”? I don’t know of any verses in Scripture that show that God was Christ’s foundation? Or that God is the corner stone of Christ? “

    When the Holy Spirit hovered over Mary and caused her to become pregnant with Jesus, that is when God Eloheim was the source or cornerstone or beginning of Christ the Messiah. Remember that Christ is both God and Perfect Human, the miracle that made Him able to suffer death so that we could be saved through His sacrifice.

  249. More simply put, the question I’m asking is this:

    Is Christ under God’s authority, “as the head of Christ is God”? Or is God Christ’s source, foundation and beginning?

  250. Sorry TL, my screen had not refreshed when I posted that last comment, so I did not see your reply.

  251. Christ being under God’s authority diminishes His divinity. Doesn’t work.

  252. Holly – if you click on the 1 Corinthians 11 category in the sidebar, you will get a wealth of info and background on this passage and especially on kephale. I would start with this post: http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2007/05/26/verse-by-verse-through-1-corinthians-11/

  253. Oh, thanks Gengwall… I didn’t see that.

    TL – I think I need to read the suggested category on 1 Cor 11 before I say too much more. This whole concept is foreign to me, and I kind of feel like a fish out of water! I understand Jesus Christ’s divinity, however, I do think that the man Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, was obedient to the Father’s will. Whether this “will” of the Father equated to “authority” or not, I’m unsure. I have always viewed the parent as an “authority” figure, so thinking of God as the “head” of Christ made sense to me. It is all the other problems between human relationships that come with this interpretation that give me pause to question.

  254. Holly,

    Don’t fret. :)

    The problem with thinking that the Son of God has/had less authority than the God the Father and the Holy Spirit, means that they are not one in essence, will and authority. Eloheim, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are miraculously of the same Will, the same Authority and of the same essence. The fact that God somehow sent His Son into the world through the virgin birth to take on human flesh does not change who God is in essence. Jesus’s humanity had to learn suffering and thus discipline to do God’s will. But Jesus as God in the flesh had all the same authority so that He was able to say that essentially “you see me, you see the Father”. And amazing statement.

    It’s complicated. But I would not say that God the father has more authority than God the Son. Read Hebrews 1.

  255. First time poster…

    To Cheryl (post #209)

    This was a while ago, however I had to reply. I am sorry this discussion proved difficult, and I hope you are more at peace now after some time. But (with Romans 8 28 in mind) what you shared ended up being an affirmation of truth that I really needed. I absolutely know what it means to have old wounds opened in the way you describe, even after many years, and even after a process of healing and change. Too many times I have felt dismissed and made to feel wrong when I feel a pain that doesn’t go away, or comes back because circumstances are a reminder that can’t be ignored. It’s one of the reasons my faith sometimes seems to be hanging by one last thread, and just to read from someone else who has been there (although again, I am sorry for your pain) was a help. Thank you for sharing. God Bless.

  256. I’d love to read what you wrote, Cheryl, but the thread with the much reaction isn’t accessible at all to me. I believe I am not the only potential reader with that problem.

    I suggest you re-post your piece to inform even us who struggle to open it. In your re-posting, you can close comments, and then direct us with links to the current comment page and the previous ones, and tell us to use this for comments.

  257. Hi Retha,
    If you are wanting to read any of Cheryl’s posts, they are available on the home page http://strivetoenter.com/wim/
    Just scroll down until you find the one you are after.
    If you are wanting
    Authority vs submission – a biblical view of Ephesians 5:22
    May 23rd, 2010 by Cheryl Schatz
    then the post is available to read, but unfortunately the comments are not. I also would like to read them but I think they may be lost in cyberspace.
    Hope that helps.
    I think Cheryl must still be very busy with her other commitments at the moment. I know how she loves to participate on her blog when she can. I hope she is ok.

  258. In a discussion with a comp friend on the subject of mutual submission, I mentioned 1 Peter 5:5. In the King James Version it says
    “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility”
    So this version explicitly states “submit (or be subject) to one another”, but in more recent translations it is not so clear.
    The textus receptus seems to have the” hupotasso one another” bit but other Greek bibles leave out the hupotasso word. Is there anyone who can confirm this or knows anything about it.
    My friend wrote to me today,
    “You mention 1 Peter 5:5 but I think someone has led you astray there. That verse only refers to young men submitting to elders (specific and one sided and another example of a hierarchical relationship). The ‘one another’ does not use the submission verb (hupotasso) but instead refers to clothing yourself in humility towards one another. That is not submission.”
    Sounds like another textual variant to me. Can anyone help who knows a bit of Greek or has any thoughts on this verse and if it is any help on the subject of mutual submission? Thanks.

  259. Craig,
    The Textus Receptus which corresponds to the KJV shows submission but the NA27 (Nestle Aland Greek New Testament) has mutual humility rather than submission.

    However the humility is akin to submission since verse 6 shows that mutual humility is placing ourselves under God in a lowered position so mutual humility (verse 5) is placing ourselves in a lowered position towards each other.

    1 Peter 5:5–6 (NASB95)
    5You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.
    6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,

    Also the term “likewise” in verse 5 connects the submission in verse 5 to the service of elders in 1 Peter 5:2, 3. Elders are to voluntarily or willing shepherd the flock but not with any intention of lording over the flock but as a service to the flock in willingly protecting them. The mutual humility shows mutual service putting oneself under the other for the purpose of service so that the others are treated as if they are first and you are to receive the last place.

    Thus with the mutual submission of the NASB and mutual submission of the NKJV, the idea is the same in both with deliberate mutuality.

    Does this help?

  260. Thanks Cheryl. I have included some of your thoughts in my reply to him. I wonder how the variant reading arose if there were not some similarities in concept?
    My friend sees submission as only to an authority, and quite different to humility, love and servanthood. I have written a fair bit in reply to him from things I have learnt here. Hopefully he will begin to see that he doesn’t have all the answers.

  261. Craig,
    I do think that the variant read arose because the concept of humility and submission are so closely aligned. Also the submission and/or humility that one gives is volitional and is not aligned with forced subjection that comes from authority that requires submission. Thus the passage says that God opposes the proud and in verse 3 the “lording over” is an act of pride that comes from taking authority over others. Rather than “lording over” others, the one who has been given the responsibility to protect the flock is to be an example to the flock and verse 5 shows what kind of example that is. It is an example of humility. Humility places oneself under another for the other person’s good and when all do this mutually, the body grows in love and respect for one another rather than in a hierarchical authority structure.

  262. I am just now looking at Gal 2:5 as a verse that may have some relevance as to whether hupotasso is only to an authority. Is hupotage the same thing?
    Paul and Titus did not submit to the Judaizers demands that Titus be circumcised. Did the Judaizers have any authority over Paul and Titus? No. Presumably they didn’t submit because the Judaizers were demanding something that was wrong.
    What if the Judaizers were actually demanding something else that happened to be a good and godly thing to do. Paul and Titus would presumably then have “submitted”.
    According to my logic, submission can thus be done to someone who doesn’t have authority and can therefore be done to one another.
    Does this sound correct? Have I got the word right or would comps argue that hupotage is different?

  263. An egal friend of mine thinks that Abraham is said to submit (hupotasso) to Sarah in the Septuagint translation somewhere. I can’t find this anywhere. Does anyone know if this is true or not? Thanks.

  264. #262 Craig,
    Galatians 2:5 is the noun form of the word for submission. It is found 4 times in the NT in this form: 2 Cor 9:13 where it is translated obedience in that NASB; Gal 2:5; 1 Timothy 2:11 translated as submissiveness; and 1 Timothy 3:4 where it is translated as control. As far as demanding submission, I don’t think the Bible allows Christians to do this. This is why we are told to submit rather than the shepherds told to take control over the flock. One person is never given control over another person, but people can voluntarily give their submission.

    Here are the related words per Kittel:

    tasso

  265. #263 Craig,
    I didn’t find the term subjection, but when God tells Abraham to listen to Sarah, the term for “listen” means to hear and accept a request, to obey. Obedience by hearing and accepting the other person’s desires or will is submission.

  266. Thanks so much again Cheryl for your help. Wonderful to have you around!

  267. Thanks Craig for your encouraging word. The last number of months have been a long hard road. Things are not completely back to normal, but the joy of the Lord is returning even though we have not yet seen the end of the tunnel. Praise the name of the Lord for His love endures forever!

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